Children deserve

the benefits

I want to thank City Council President Darrell L. Clarke and those who voted for initial approval of a tax on sugary and diet drinks ("New soda tax plan: 11/2 cents," Thursday). This tax will support an additional 6,500 pre-K slots; provide $48.7 million to renovate recreation centers, libraries, and parks; and fund 25 community schools.

I worked in the Department of Parks and Recreation for almost 10 years, helping community groups raise money for programs at rec centers for their children. I was at McVeigh Recreation Center at D and East Ontario Streets last month, and an after-school program volunteer said, "This isn't so bad." I pointed out missing tiles on the walls, chipped paint, discolored ceiling tiles, and the fact that there is no heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.

"You're right, they do deserve better," he said. "I am just so used to it, I don't see it anymore."

I live for the day when city children understand they deserve the best facilities, that their future is as important as those of children in Haddonfield, Ardmore, and Glenside.

Council's vote was a powerful first step toward this dream.

|Jean Hunt, Philadelphia,

A drain on business

I have been vocal in my opposition to the proposed sugary-beverage tax.

I had to remove the cigarette machines from my tavern, Locust Rendezvous, after the city instituted a $2-a-pack tax. I tried to absorb the liquor tax for as long as possible, but I recently needed to pass along a portion to my customers.

Our kids are important, but so is my business. My establishment should not take a financial hit for every program the city decides to try.

And now I'm outraged that taxpayers have been duped once again, and the tax revenue will go to things other than pre-K, parks, and rec centers ("Sugary drink tax has sweeteners - a surprise to some," Tuesday). Why should my business suffer to pad the city's fund balance and pay for city employee benefits? Liquor and soda sales pay the bills at my bar.

I have been calling my councilman every day and encourage you to do the same. It's not too late to stop this disgraceful tax.

|Michele Recupido, general manager, Locust Rendezvous, Philadelphia,