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Philly.com - March 17, 2016

Mayor’s desperation tax-tics

When you don’t have a good argument to make for your ideas, you attack the opposition. That’s the tactic being employed by Mayor Kenney, desperate to win an extortionate tax on sugary beverages to pay for his pre-K and other programs.

Before dealing with the latest nonsensical smoke screen, I have to stop and wonder if this guy, who spent more than two decades on City Council, and who himself opposed two previous soda taxes, failed to line up the required majority of nine votes. Wouldn’t that be political naiveté?

No one’s done a hard vote count yet, because most Council people are holding their cards close to their vests, but what kind of an idiot would Kenney be to not make sure he had the votes before launching this campaign?

We’ll find out in the weeks ahead.

Oooh, scary. (The mayor’s office hires lobbyists.)

At a Wednesday rally Mayor Kenney (channeling his inner Bernie Sanders) complained “there’s a lot of money being made off the backs of poor people.”

So now if you sell to the poor, you’re evil? How about if you hire them, as Big Soda does?

It got worse: “They’ve been taxing the poor for generations, and what we’re looking to do is take some of that profit and put it back into the neighborhoods.”

News flash: It’s the city that’s been taxing the poor (and everyone else) for generations and Philadelphia already has a higher tax burden than Boston, New York or Chicago. The city that loves you back.

Remember, too, Big Soda – and everyone else – already pays taxes. They’re not riding free.

Kenney brought along NAACP president Minister Rodney Muhammad for moral support and got what you’d expect. “"A tax on these beverages at the point of distribution is a painless contribution” to universal pre-K," Muhammad said.

If the Minister thinks the distributor will swallow a tax so large it doubles the cost of a large soda, he needs a reality check.

He also complained soda companies target poor communities with their marketing. He’d be complaining if they didn’t advertise to poor communities.

Over the weekend, Kenney got hammered because he hadn’t done his homework and didn’t realize the tax on fountain drinks was 4.5 cents per ounce, 50 percent more than bottles. That’ll be fixed, we are told.

Kenney said opponents are using that mistake to discredit him. “They have nothing else to hammer,” he said.

Nothing else?

Like it being the highest tax of its kind to ever be proposed? That it targets a single industry to pay for programs that benefit everyone? That the tax is projected to kill jobs? That it hurts consumers?

Naw, there’s nothing there to complain about.

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