PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - After hours of testimony City Council gave preliminary approval to a soda tax increase but with changes to the mayor's proposal.
Instead of 3 cents per ounce, the plan that passed through committee Wednesday night would tax 1.5 cents per ounce on sugary drinks and now diet drinks too.
"We just voted the bills out of Committee with the understanding that these bills will be on final passage next Thursday," said Council President Darrell Clarke.
Anthony Campisi with No Philly Grocery Tax says it's discriminatory.
"This will still raise taxes on thousands of items that a family shops for every week. So a tax at any level is regressive and hurts Philadelphia families and small businesses," said Campisi.
The bombshell of the night involved word that not all of the funding will go to funding quality Pre-K, community schools and money reinvested into parks and rec centers. Money from the tax will also help pad the city's general fund.
"This was a bait and switch. It is actually used to plug a budget hole and that wasn't mentioned at any point in this debate," said Campisi.
Daniel Grace says the tax unfairly targets the beverage industry.
"All the things that he wants to do is on the backs of one industry," said Grace representing Teamsters Local 830.
He says it's a blow to workers.
“When the price of soda goes up sales go down. And when sales go down we lose jobs. We lose positions out of this," said Grace.
The bill is expected to receive final approval next Thursday.