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Soda Tax Debate Calls Attention To Health Issues In Local Stores

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Philadelphia city councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown wants to give small store owners an incentive to stock healthy drinks.

Her effort comes in the midst of an intensifying debate over whether a soda tax or a beverage container tax should fund universal pre-K.

If the soda tax debate has done nothing else, it has called attention to how unhealthy soda is and how limited other options are in certain neighborhoods.

Councilwoman Brown has introduced a bill that would provide tax credits to bodegas and small corner stores for replacing soda with drinks that have no high calorie sweeteners:

"We're trying to incentivize those small business enterprises and this is one way we think we can get them to move to healthier beverages," she says.

The bill doesn't specify a credit amount and she says she's not sure how much it would cost the city.

Brown is also the sponsor of the container tax proposal. Wednesday's hearing on that had the council president ruling out Mayor Kenney's proposed three-cents-an-ounce tax, but the mayor says he remains optimistic:

"We're all working in good faith to get it done."

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