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No Philly Grocery Tax - May 13, 2016

New TV Ad Warns Tax Proposal Puts Pre-K Initiative in Jeopardy

The Philadelphians Against the Grocery Tax Coalition released its latest ad Friday warning that pre-K must be funded in a secure and sustainable way to support Philadelphia’s children over the long haul. A regressive grocery tax that is a diminishing source of revenue will not generate the money required to sustain this important program.

The proposal to place a 3-cent per ounce levy on more than a thousand types of beverages will force the price of traditional grocery items like juice, tea and sports drinks to skyrocket. The city’s own projections predict the tax will cause a 55 percent drop in beverage sales, leaving this important program with large funding shortfalls and the revenue will continue to decline in subsequent years. This is not fair to Philadelphia’s children or the people of Philadelphia who will pay higher taxes and get nothing in return but another empty promise.

“This tax puts the pre-K program in jeopardy before it starts,” the ad warns. “That means important promises to our kids we can’t keep. We want better education for our kids, but this isn’t the right way to do it.”

City leaders are seeking to expand pre-K and revive our civic spaces and recreation centers. These are worthwhile initiatives that deserve to be funded by a sustainable revenue source instead of one that is rapidly declining. Research shows that soft drink consumption across the country has reached its lowest point in 30 years. This decline, coupled with the administration’s own projections that this tax would cause a steep drop in consumption, underscores that this revenue source will not be able to support the current proposals, leaving Philadelphia families once again disappointed.

“Quality pre-K programs provide students with an important educational, social, and economic foundation to succeed in school,” said Kurt Landgraf, an education expert and former president and CEO of Educational Testing Service who is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn State University. “A program this important should not be done through the risky move of taxing any individual product line or any single business sector. The current proposal represents an unsustainable revenue source that will be unable to support this critical program for the long term.”

More than 1,200 small businesses and more than 14,000 regular Philadelphians have joined the Philadelphians Against the Grocery Tax Coalition because they recognize that the proposed tax is regressive and will fail to support the programs it is intended to fund.

The fact is we can and should invest in our children without harming families and small business owners in the process. If city officials sincerely believe that pre-K is a priority they should properly fund it reliably and sustainably within the budget.

You can view the latest ad here.

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