AFSCME District Council 33 Calls on City Council to Hold Hearings on Soda Tax and Trash Fee Proposals

Mar 24, 2010, 10:39 ET from AFSCME District Council 33

PHILADELPHIA, March 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pete Matthews, the President of AFSCME District Council 33, the City Municipal Workers Union, today called on Philadelphia City Council to pass what he described as a "responsible" budget. Mayor Michael Nutter has proposed a budget that calls for a new tax on sugared soft drinks and a $300 per year household fee for trash collection.

"Mayor Nutter did the right thing by presenting City Council with a budget proposal that recognizes the need for maintaining vital City services," said Matthews. "It is City Council's job now to make sure that budget is funded in a responsible and fair way."

Matthews noted that soft drink bottlers and the Teamsters Union have raised concerns about the potential for job losses associated with the soda tax while the Nutter Administration has stressed the health benefits.

"While we recognize that there are varying opinions about the soda tax, that does not override the need for City Council to find new revenue sources to fund the City services that our members deliver," said Matthews. "That is why we are calling on City Council to hold public hearings to determine whether raising taxes on sugared soda and thereby changing the soft drink product mix in food stores as a result would in fact cause job losses for Teamsters bottlers and drivers."

Matthews went on to say: "If those City Council hearings establish that there will be Teamsters jobs lost in bottling or delivery then District Council 33 will be categorically opposed to the soda tax."

Matthews noted that District Council 33 already came out last week in favor of examining the possibility of increasing the real estate tax instead of the proposed $300 per household trash fee as a more progressive alternative that would be tax deductible and protect property tax rebates for senior citizens. He said that alternatives to the soda tax should be subject to the same consideration.

"The citizens of the City have made it clear that they want the services that District Council 33 members provide," said Matthews. "If it is determined by City Council that the soda tax and trash fee are both unworkable then it is up to them, working with Mayor Nutter, to propose alternative revenue enhancements that will fund these vital City services."

District Council 33 represents over 10,000 City workers in all departments of City government.

SOURCE AFSCME District Council 33