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The Latest: Beverage Bottler Vows to Fight Soda Tax in Court

Friday, 17 Jun 2016 08:33 AM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on Philadelphia becoming the first major U.S. city with a soda tax (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

A Pennsylvania beverage bottler says he's going to fight Philadelphia's newly passed soda tax in court.

Businessman Harold Honickman said Thursday he could file a lawsuit as soon as this weekend and would "love to start a case tomorrow."

The City Council has approved a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary and diet beverages.

Honickman says he spent $1.7 million fighting it. He says he thinks sales will go down and jobs will be lost. He says the city could have financed its planned slate of programs from "so much money lying around" instead of a soda tax.

The tax will be levied on distributors. If they pass it entirely on to consumers, a six-pack of 16-ounce bottles would go up $1.44.

3:15 p.m.

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.

1:05 a.m.

Philadelphia is set to 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 is expected to give final approval Thursday to a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary and diet beverages.

Berkeley, California, is the only other 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.

The soda industry is expected to sue if the tax is approved.

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