News & Politics

Philadelphia Passes Soda Tax

Antonio Garcia re-stocks beverages at The Corner Market in Washington, on Saturday, May 22, 2010. Lawmakers across the country are proposing taxes on sports drinks, teas, and sodas. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The nanny statists sitting on the Philadelphia City Council have passed a 1.5 cent tax on all sugared and diet soda “to raise millions for a bold expansion of early childhood education.”

Philadelphia is the first city in the nation to punish citizens who drink soda.

Mayor Jim Kenney said the vote is a start to”changing the narrative of poverty in our city.”

“It’s been generations we’ve been going downhill with our kids in our neighborhoods,” Kenney said. “And it’s going to take some time to get us back. But this is the first step back.”

So in order to help the poor people, the city will force them to pay more money for the soda they drink.

It is expected to raise about $91 million annually to be spent on expanding prekindergarten programs in the city; creating community schools; improving parks, recreation centers, and libraries; and offering a tax credit for businesses that sell healthy beverages.

The mayor initially wanted a 3 cent tax but had to settle for less and include diet soda in order to get the proposal through the council. Three Republicans and one Democrat voted against the tax.

Philadelphia’s tax will be levied on distributors. Only time will tell how much will trickle down to consumers. The tax could add up to 18 cents to the cost of a 12-ounce can, $1 to the cost of a 2-liter container, and $2.16 to the cost of a 12-pack. It will affect sodas, teas, sports drinks, flavored waters, bottled coffees, energy drinks, and other products.

Of course it’s going to trickle down to consumers — do you think the companies are just going to absorb the extra cost of the new tax?

Former New York City mayor and nanny-stater Michael Bloomberg congratulated the mayor.

“Obesity and poverty are both intractable national problems,” Bloomberg said. “No policy takes more direct aim at both than Philadelphia’s tax on sugary drinks.”

The beverage industry’s anti-tax coalition said the bill was unconstitutional and will fight it in court.  “Working families and small businesses simply cannot afford to pay this tax,” the group said.

The mayor said he is ready for a legal challenge.

“We believe we’re on strong legal ground. We’ll see what they do. How they do it. How they approach it,” Kenney said. “They spent a long time twisting the facts of this whole debate on television with millions of dollars and that wasn’t effective. So we’ll fight the next fight when it comes.”

See you court.