It is Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s most defining piece of legislation in his first term, but it also resulted in the biggest campaign donation supporting his re-election bid.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a supporter of Kenney’s controversial sugary beverage tax, donated $1M to Forward Together Philadelphia, an independent political action committee supporting Kenney’s reelection bid, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The donation comes at a time when recent polling indicates the tax is not widely popular in Philly.
According to a recent poll conducted for the Philadelphia Inquirer by SurveyUSA, 62% polled called the tax a failure, while 26% consider it a success and 13% believe it is too soon to say. 55% believe the tax should be eliminated and 17% think it should be reduced, while a quarter of those polled think it should stay the same or be raised.
Although Kenney’s sugary beverage tax is widely disapproved, Philadelphians strongly support his pre-K program that is funded by the tax by a 3 to 1 ratio. Those polled believe a different tax should pay for the program.
This controversial tax is the leading catalyst for fundraising in the current three candidate Democratic field for Mayor.
WHYY reports that the American Beverage Association, a staunch opponent of the sugary beverage tax, has spent more than $1.1M in it’s quest against defeating Kenney and the tax.
Both of Kenney’s primary challengers, state Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia) and former Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz, oppose the sugary beverage tax, but support the main program it funds.
Kenney holds a significant cash and fundraising advantage over his two opponents entering the final weeks of the campaign. The Inquirer reports that Kenney raised $302,036 and spent $254,537 in the last month, and had $703,190 in the bank as of last Monday. Williams raised $91,035 in the same period, spent $89,014, and had $51,098 in the bank on Monday. Butkovitz reported $11,425 in donations, $20,465 in spending, and $41,931 in the bank.