Philadelphia passes soda tax

 

Philadelphia, the once-dubbed birthplace of the Constitution, now has the dubious distinction of being the first major city in America to pass a soda tax.

City Council members approved the 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on both sugared and sugar-substitute diet sodas, under the justification of raising money for schools.

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The new tax “will hit thousands of products, essentially anything bottled, canned or from a fountain with either sugar or artificial sweetener added, save for a few exceptions”, Philly.com reported.

And the text of the law states, NPR reported: Taxable products include “non-100 percent fruit drinks, flavored water, energy drinks, pre-sweetened coffee or tea, and non-alcoholic beverages intended to be mixed into an alcoholic drink”.

The tax is projected to raise more than $90 million in the coming year, all of which politicos said would go toward prekindergarten, community schools and recreational centers.

“Thanks to the tireless advocacy of educators, parents, rec center volunteers and so many others, Philadelphia made a historic investment in our neighborhoods and in our education system today”, said Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, after the 13-4 vote.

Only Berkeley, California, had a similar tax policy. Other proposals to raise money via soda taxes have been tried, but failed, in at least 30 other cities in the country.

Supporters say the tax will lower obesity rates and help fight diseases related to sugar consumption. Opponents say the tax is likely to disproportionately affect the poor.

The American Beverage Association calls soda taxes “discriminatory and highly unpopular,” and said the one passed in Philadelphia “is a regressive tax that unfairly singles out beverages, including low- and no-calorie choices.”

Beverage bottling busineessman Harold Honickman said he was going to fight the tax in court, saying the increased price would mean lower sales and lost jobs. And Teamsters Local 830 secretary-treasurer Daniel Grace agreed that a legal battle was likely.

Fuente: WND.


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