Would a Hillary Clinton administration push a federal tax on sodas?
The potential exists as on Wednesday, she endorsed a mayor’s proposal to create a 3 cent per ounce tax on sodas and other sugary drinks as a means to fund the expansion of government programs.
During an appearance in Philadelphia, Clinton gave a thumbs-up to Mayor Jim Kenney’s idea for the new tax.
“I’m very supportive of the mayor’s proposal to tax soda to get universal preschool for kids,” she told an invitation-only event with former Attorney General Eric Holder.
“We need universal preschool and if that’s a way to do it, that’s how we should do it.”
Clinton was referring to Kenney’s plan, which could potentially be a massive new tax totaling $432 million on Philadelphians over five years.
“I don’t think I can fail, based on the people who are standing behind me,” Kenney said at a March press conference, “because they are Philadelphia. They’re not corporate America, they’re not Big Soda, and this is not personal toward Big Soda, but there’s a lot of money being made off the backs of poor people.
“And the argument they’ll make is that this is a tax on the poor. Well, 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.”
The Philly News reports Kenney’s tax would fund “universal pre-K; community schools; and upgrades to parks and recreation centers.”
The mayor’s idea isn’t new. It’s a one-up on former Mayor Michael Nutter’s idea to create a two cent per ounce tax.
But how extreme — and potentially politically perilous — is such an idea?
When voters of San Francisco — one of the most liberal cities in the country — were asked to approve a 2 cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages to raise funds earmarked for “nutrition, physical activity, and health programs in public schools, parks, and elsewhere,” they rejected it, according to Ballotpedia.