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Michael Bloomberg Gloats Over Philadelphia’s New Soda Tax

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is offering his congratulations to Philadelphia’s city council, which overwhelmingly voted to pass a new soda tax Thursday.

The 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax was strongly argued for by Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, who claimed it would raise millions of dollars for pre-Kindergarten education and other community projects.

Council members voted 13-4 in favor of the tax, reports Reuters. Philadelphia is now the largest city to have a tax on sugary drinks. Supporters of the tax said it would generate $91 million per year. (RELATED: Philadelphia Passes Soda Tax)

“I want to congratulate Philadelphia’s city council and courageous mayor, Jim Kenney, for standing up to the beverage industry and doing what’s right for the people of their city,” Bloomberg said on his website.

“Obesity and poverty are both intractable national problems,” he said. “No policy takes more direct aim at both than Philadelphia’s tax on sugary drinks. I was glad to support it, and I will continue working to ensure that cities and nations pursuing these anti-obesity strategies get the support they need to level the playing field with the soda industry.”

“When elected officials in one city take on special interests and win, leaders in other jurisdictions are emboldened to act – as New York City’s smoking ban made perfectly clear,” he added. “For that reason, Philadelphia will almost certainly not be the last city to adopt a sugary drinks tax. In fact, the question now is not whether any city will follow suit, but rather how many – and how quickly? In November, voters in three California cities will take up the issue, and it may also come before voters in Boulder, Colorado.”

Philadelphia’s decision comes just a day after a report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute said soda taxes were a failed experiment and should be abandoned. (RELATED: Soda Taxes Are A Failed Experiment, Claims New Report)

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