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Newsworks - May 5, 2016

Philly Council president says 3-cent soda tax is too high

Philadelphia City Council's president is pessimistic that Mayor Jim Kenney's proposed tax on sugary drinks will pass "as is."

Darrell Clarke said he doubts the 3-cents-per-ounce tariff on soda and other sugary drinks will win enough votes from his colleagues.

"That number just is not reflective of reality," Clarke said Thursday.

If the levy is not approved, Councilman Curtis Jones said, there will be no viable way to pay for Kenney's proposed citywide pre-K and improvements to recreation centers and libraries.

"This is a small town and a network of villages that people get to spend summers at, whether it's a pool or at a baseball field or a boxing gym, and we want to preserve that," he said. "And they're crumbling around our heads."

A Kenney spokesman said a tax under than 3 cents means less pre-k, fewer community schools and not as many improvements to parks, recreation centers and libraries.

City Council will vote on whether to apply the tax. Several Council members have already said they oppose the measure.

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