September 14, 2011
With half of Philadelphia's children overweight or obese, city health officials are in no position to reject any legitimate offer of help with this public-health crisis - even if it comes from the soft-drink industry. But Mayor Nutter has refused a Children's Hospital of Philadelphia offer to bring an industry-funded antiobesity program to city health centers. In effect, he is making kids who are battling the bulge into innocent pawns in a political fight over slapping a tax on soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
June 19, 2011 |
Big Soda may have triumphed over Big Public Health last week in the latest battle over Mayor Nutter's proposed tax on sugary drinks. But don't expect the idea to dry up like some sticky puddle of spilled Coke. It may not make soft-drink distributors, retailers, and truck drivers happy. But it makes too much sense for the rest of us. I'm kidding about "Big Public Health," of course, even if "Big Soda" richly deserves the label Nutter plastered on it. All around the country, the soft-drink industry and its allies have spoken with one voice - and loads of money - to defeat proposals for taxing high-calorie, largely nutritionless beverages, framing them as attacks on freedom and the march of the "nanny state.
June 5, 2011 |
Nearly burned in 2010 with the nation's steepest tax on their product, the beverage industry has turned its attention to City Council to make sure it doesn't happen again. The soft-drink industry gave a total of $95,300 to Council candidates in 2010-11, a nearly 800 percent increase from 2006-07, when the industry contributed just $10,600 to Council. The 17 Council members will now decide the fate of Mayor Nutter's effort to revive the tax, which died in Council during budget negotiations last year.
December 27, 2010 |
Sarah Roisman comes from a good home. Her mother, Lee, is a dentist. Her father, Richard, is a lawyer. The youngest of the family's three children, Sarah always did well in school, had well-mannered friends, and spent her summers playing softball at a camp in Maine. She sneaked her first glass of vodka at 12. By the time she celebrated her bat mitzvah, she had been drinking heavily on weekends for months. At 15, she was supporting a $100-a-day cocaine habit, popping prescription pills from her friends' parents' medicine cabinets, and consuming more than a bottle of champagne in a night.
April 12, 2010
MANY have debated the mayor's proposed sugar-sweetened beverage tax, but it would be illegal. Pennsylvania law specifically bans the city from taxing an item that the state already taxes. As anyone who's picked up a six-pack of soda in a supermarket knows, Pennsylvania taxes ALL soft drinks at 6 percent, sugar sweetened or not. Like the state sales tax, the proposed sugar tax would fall on the consumer. If this tax were enacted, we'd pay separate taxes on the same item. In fact, the city designed this tax to fall on the consumer, claiming the goal is to change buying behavior.
March 16, 2010
Cut aid to Israel The slap to America's face that Israel gave, by announcing expansion of settlements in Jerusalem, should be answered by cessation of the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars we give Israel annually - which help construct the settlements ("Israel's apology gets a cool reception," Monday). Mere words of disapproval are not enough to dispel U.S. bias in favor of Israel, which prevents our being viewed as an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
March 11, 2010 |
The food and beverage industry is mobilizing against Mayor Nutter's proposed tax on sweet drinks, with a rush of activity that has City Hall bracing for a "madhouse. " Lobbyists are buttonholing City Council members. Trade groups and the unions have locked arms. Industry ads are sprouting on the air and in print extolling the good corporate citizenship of soft-drink companies. The public has weighed in with hundreds of calls and e-mails. All of this one week after the mayor proposed a 2 cents-per-ounce tax on all sweetened drinks as a way to raise revenue for the 2011 budget, and to combat obesity.
March 2, 2010 |
KEEP YOUR wallets handy. A fee for trash collection and a tax on sugary beverages are expected to be included in Mayor Nutter's budget proposal, which he is set to unveil on Thursday, sources tell the Daily News . Details were limited on exactly how those charges would work. Sources said the trash fee was likely to be a flat per-household charge. Finance Director Rob Dubow wouldn't comment on the contents of the budget, except to again note that the city has a substantial budget gap. "We're facing really tough decisions because the size of the problem is really large and we've [already]
February 24, 2009 |
Finally, some good news. Free soft drinks will soon be back on US Airways flights. Philadelphia's dominant airline said today that it will no longer charge $2 for sodas, juices, bottled water and coffee. Starting March 1, the Tempe, Ariz.-based carrier, which shuttles two-thirds of Philadelphia air travelers, will again offer complimentary nonalcoholic beverages. US Airways became the first and only major carrier last June to charge for soft drinks to offset soaring fuel costs.