On June 20, 2016 Philadelphia made history when Mayor Jim Kenney signed a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened and diet beverages. A large percentage of the tax, expected to raise $91 million annually, will be spent on expanding prekindergarten programs in our city. The tax will also go towards creating community schools and improving parks, recreation centers, and libraries. Thanks to the tax, the city is set to enroll 2,000 children in Pre-K in January and another 1,000 by September 2017.
MCC took to social media and City Hall in supporting the sugary beverage tax using the hashtag #RKidsRWorthIt. MCC Executive Director, JoAnne Fischer, also testified to Philadelphia City Council in favor of high quality early education for all our children.
MCC is so excited that Philly has taken the historic step towards offering Universal Pre-K to all its 3- and 4-year-olds. Although Universal Pre-K will greatly help our community and children, research tells us that children ages 0-3 are at a critical period in their development. Our community still needs programs for infants and toddlers so that they can get the early education they deserve. We need to continue to invest in our children for tomorrow’s future. This proposal is a monumental step toward establishing a long term stable funding stream to address the need for high quality early education.