This year, the mayor left the sugary-drink tax out of his budget proposal, but the Beverage Association was taking no chances. It reported spending $14,875 for its lobbyists to contact all 17 Council members, in opposition to a soda tax.
The bulk of its money, more than $220,000, was spent on "indirect communication" - print advertising and outreach via websites and social media, according to its report.
It was among some 40 disclosures filed on paper with the city Board of Ethics, describing the amounts spent by registered "principals" trying to influence city officials in some way.
Most of the entities reported spending less than $2,500 and were not required to spell out exactly whom they contacted, or why. But above the $2,500 threshold, they had to identify each public official they approached and what policy they were trying to promote or change.
Comcast reported $32,985 in spending, contacting 15 Council members in opposition to paid sick leave for Philadelphia workers.
For now, the lobbying reports are available only by visiting the Board of Ethics offices at 15th and Sansom Streets, but the board hopes to put them onto its website within several weeks.
Lists of the city's registered lobbyists, lobbying firms, and the principals who employ them are already on the website, at http://www.phila.gov/ethicsboard/.
The lobbyists' financial disclosures were originally supposed to begin last year, but they were delayed repeatedly while the city waited for software to be developed by a private vendor, Perficient Inc.
Two months ago, the city got tired of waiting, dismissed the vendor and ordered the lobbying reports submitted on paper.
One small step for tax collection
For decades, it's been easy to get away with not paying your taxes in Philadelphia. Now, the city's Revenue Department is taking a small step toward getting more people to pay what they owe.
The city is seeking an outside firm to call people who are at least 31 days behind in paying taxes, fees, or fines, including unpaid water bills.
Collectors will be paid on contingency. - Miriam Hill