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April 23, 2016

Sanders calls Kenney's proposed soda tax 'regressive'

Democratic candidates differ on way to fund Philly pre-K program

Mayor Jim Kenney's proposed tax on sugary drinks has emerged on the campaign trail as a dividing issue between the two Democratic presidential candidates.

Hillary Clinton told a forum in Philly Wednesday she was "very supportive" of the idea, saying "we need universal pre-school," adding, "if that's a way to do it, that's how we should do it," according to CNN.

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Her rival for the party's nomination, Bernie Sanders, has taken a different stance. He said in a press release Friday the tax will hurt the city's poorest residents, calling it "regressive." Per the release:

Speaking of Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposal to tax soda and juice drinks to pay for universal pre-school, Sanders said he shares the mayor’s goal of providing child care. The senator differed with the mayor and Clinton over how to pay for the proposal. “I do have a serious disagreement with how you fund this. You don’t have to fund child care on the backs of the poorest people in this city. That is a regressive way to raise funds.”

Kenney's plan calls for a three-cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks to create $95 million in additional tax revenue to fund, among other parts of his $4.17 billion budget proposal, a pre-K program intended to serve 25,000 children in Philadelphia.

The mayor, who has endorsed Clinton, rebuked Sanders' assessment of the tax. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer:

...Kenney, a Clinton supporter, called it a "corporate tax - plain and simple."

"It is immoral and completely hypocritical for these vested corporate interests to pass this tax on to the very people they have profited from for decades," Kenney said in a statement.

Both candidates have recently campaigned in Philadelphia in advance of Pennsylvania's April 26 primary. Polls have shown Clinton holding a consistent lead over Sanders among the state's Democratic voters.

Clinton currently owns 1,446 delegates and has the support of another 502 superdelegates, according to the New York Times. Sanders has collected 1,200 delegates and is backed by 38 superdelegates, who can switch allegiances in July at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.

To win the nomination, one candidate will have to secure 2,383 total delegates.