Texas Nonprofit Backs Philadelphia's Soda Tax Fight With $500K Grant

While soda drinkers across the city are feeling lighter in their wallets this week, the city of Philadelphia has more wiggle room in its $1.6 million financial allotment for its legal defense of the sweetened beverage tax.

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation exclusively told the Philadelphia Business Journal Wednesday that it gifted the city with $500,000 in early November to be put towards the legal defense of what has become known as the soda tax.

"We don’t think the citizens of Philadelphia should be forced to abandon an intervention... that could benefit their city because of litigation," said Kelli Rhee, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of the Houston-based Arnold Foundation.

The most recent figures from the Mayor's Office show the lawsuit has cost $828,000 through the end of November. The expense represents more than half the $1.6 million cap on the costs of litigation, according to current contracts. With the newly announced $500,000, the Arnold Foundation has bought the city some extra time in its legal battle against the deep-pocketed beverage industry.

While the Arnold Foundation's grant brings a slight sigh of relief, Kenney can't breathe easy just yet – since litigation over the soda tax does not appear to be ending any time soon.

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