Philadelphia is 1st major US city with soda tax

Written by The Associated Press | Jun 16, 2016 4:33 PM

Photo by AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

In this Wednesday, June 8, 2016 file photo, opponents of a proposed sugary drink tax demonstrate outside City Hall in Philadelphia.

(Philadelphia) -- Philadelphia has become the first major American city with a soda tax despite a multimillion-dollar campaign by the beverage industry to block it.

The City Council gave final approval Thursday to a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary and diet beverages.

Berkeley, California, is the only other U.S. city with such a tax. Other proposals have been defeated in more than 30 cities and states.

Two previous efforts to pass a soda tax in Philadelphia also failed.

But Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney sold the council on the idea with a plan to spend most of the estimated $90 million in new tax revenues next year to pay for pre-kindergarten, community schools and recreation centers.

He calls the passage ``a historic investment'' in the city's neighborhoods and education system.

The soda industry is expected to sue.

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