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Philadelphia is 1st major US city with soda tax

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia has become the first major American city with a soda tax despite a multimillion-dollar campaign by the beverage industry to block it.

The Philadelphia City Council gave final approval Thursday to a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary and diet beverages.

Berkeley, California, is the only other U.S. city with such a tax. Other proposals have been defeated in more than 30 cities and states.

Two previous efforts to pass a soda tax in Philadelphia also failed.

But Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney sold the council on the idea with a plan to spend most of the estimated $90 million in new tax revenues next year to pay for pre-kindergarten, community schools and recreation centers.

He calls the passage "a historic investment" in the city's neighborhoods and education system.

The soda industry is expected to sue.

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