ISSUE | SODA TAX

Clinton playing politics with city taxpayers

Hillary Clinton's support of Mayor Kenney's regressive 3-cents-an-ounce sugary-drinks tax is misguided ("Clinton, Cruz bring campaigns to Pa.," April 21). We sincerely doubt that she was made aware of the significant loss of family-sustaining jobs that will result if this outrageous tax is passed.

Similarly, Clinton likely has no idea that the projected revenues from the tax will never come to fruition due to the precipitous decline in sales of sugar-sweetened drinks that will occur and the underground markets that will arise if the tax proposal becomes law.

Keep in mind that Kenney endorsed Clinton for president. Clinton was simply currying favor with the mayor days before Pennsylvania's Democratic primary. Ultimately, her position on a tax that would affect only tax-weary Philadelphians is irrelevant.

|Daniel H. Grace, secretary-treasurer, Teamsters Local 830, Philadelphia, dgrace@teamsters830.org

On balance, beverage levy is worth it

Since the proposed sugary-drinks tax would take equal amounts of money from rich and poor soda buyers, and the rich have more disposable income to pay for their soda, it is technically a regressive tax. But the revenue would be used to pay for high-quality prekindergarten for children from our poorest neighborhoods, so the benefits would go disproportionately to those with less disposable income.

Ask struggling parents whether they would prefer cheap soda or free early-childhood education for their kids, and the answer is clear. With the larger picture in mind, this tax is profoundly progressive.

|Pamela Haines, Philadelphia, pamelahaines1@gmail.com

Pre-K, community schools are essential

As a teacher in Southwest Philadelphia, I support Mayor Kenney's proposed budget, specifically his community school initiative and the push for early intervention and preschool programs throughout the city. And I support the sugary-beverage tax to fund these much-needed programs.

There are no other sources of money for these investments. More taxes on homeowners, workers, and businesses would drive families and jobs out of Philadelphia. That's why I testified in support of the programs and the soda tax at a City Council hearing last week.

As a public-school teacher, I can attest to the dire need for early intervention, preschool, and community school programs for the benefit of our students. Why are we continuing to shortchange our city's youths by depriving them of the academic and behavioral-health support that would improve their chances of succeeding in life?

|Jennifer Gock, Philadelphia