When Philadelphia wanted to combat obesity and reduce its impact on health care early last year, it turned to a controversial measure: the soda tax.
Since then, the 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax has inspired equally passionate support and opposition.
Detractors of additional food, beverage and container taxes say they result in job loss, harm communities and adversely impact lower income families.
Proponents, meanwhile, cite health benefits, and say the additional tax revenue is an investment in neighborhoods and public education.
More than a year after its implementation, Philadelphia’s tax is now coming back to the fore in Harrisburg, as a number of lawmakers move to kill it, plus prevent any new levies on food, beverages and food containers. Allegheny County Republican Mark Mustio, the lead sponsor of that legislation, joins Smart Talk to explain why he thinks the tax is such a bad idea.
And representing the other point of view is Donna Cooper, Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), a Greater Philadelphia child advocacy organization. Cooper believes the tax is doing a world of good for the Philly community and the programs that serve it.
In other news, this week was a busy one in the state Capitol. With WITF State Capitol Bureau Chief Katie Meyer hosting, Capitolwire Bureau Chief Chris Comisac stops by to discuss the major events: including the House passing contentious bills on abortion and Medicaid work requirements, new rules for medical marijuana, some inter-legislator tension, and much more.