State Sen. Anthony Williams: Beverage Tax Is ‘Regressive’

Philadelphia (CBS) – State Sen. Anthony Williams, who represents the 8th District in Philadelphia, talked with Dom Giordano on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT about the impact of the beverage tax, saying the city wasted a chance to secure funding for essential programs.

“There was a missed opportunity for us in Philadelphia to advocate for pre-k dollars. Right now, we are attaching pre-k and, I guess, the repair of recreation centers to a declining revenue stream, which is the beverage tax. It’s not just soda, any sweetened item across the board that may be healthy or not healthy. It may be juice, it may be almond milk, it may be soda, whatever it is, it’s going to be taxed and it is not a progressive perspective, it’s not a progressive idea. It’s a regressive tax because it falls on the backs of those who can least afford it, primarily.”

He believes it would have been possible for Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration to work with the state legislature to work out a different solution, but that it failed to materialize.

“What was supposed to happen was some of the most conservative Republicans that are in Harrisburg [were] to come to Philadelphia to talk about the beverage tax and consequence of imposing it upon Philadelphia. The reason why is because the people in Philadelphia are now in Harrisburg asking for more money for pre-k. If that’s the case, then they’re going to ask us what does it go towards? It was a natural conversation to occur. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”

Williams also explained why he opposes allowing teachers arm themselves in schools in the case of a shooting or attack.

“Teachers aren’t trained to be defenders of the public. They’re trained to be teachers. You have volunteer fire departments across Pennsylvania, great first responders, people who have taken their time are trained in protecting us from a burning fire. Create that kind of force across Pennsylvania that, if you’re really concerned about someone coming in and being disruptive at the school or hurting someone because they have a firearm and we don’t, then allow someone who has military training, paramilitary training, whatever it is to be in that space. But teachers, their responsibility is to teach a child.”

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