Opponents of a proposed sugary drink tax demonstrate outside City Hall on June 16, 2016. (AP file photo/Matt Rourke)
On Wednesday, a panel of Commonwealth Court judges in Pittsburgh will hear arguments over the legality of Mayor Kenney’s landmark sweetened beverage tax.
Levied just four months ago, the soda tax brought in about $12 million in its first two months to fund key city initiatives including pre-K expansion, the establishment of community schools and the revitalization of city parks libraries and recreation centers. The city expects to bring in $92 million each year with the tax. Read more »
The Philly soda tax brought in $6.4 million dollars in February, its second month of collections, the city announced Thursday morning. The figure exceeds Philly’s revenue projection of $5.9 million for February.
This means that so far, the Philly beverage tax has brought in a total of $12.3 million from its first two months. The tax garnered $5.9 million in collections in January, revised up from an initial total of $5.7 million. The city says totals will continue to fluctuate throughout the year due to consumption changes caused by events like holidays and weather. Read more »
Morgan Hall at Broad and Cecil B. Moore | Temple.edu
Officials at Temple University have walked back plans for a steep hike on meal-plan rates, which they claimed was a direct effect of the city’s recently passed soda tax. Read more »
Morgan Hall at Broad and Cecil B. Moore | Temple.edu
Temple University officials plan to raise board rates by 4.8 percent for 2017-18 – and they say the soda tax is to blame.
The Inquirer reports that the sweetened beverage tax the city passed last year will cost the university $400,000 a semester, according to Ken Kaiser, the school’s chief financial officer. Read more »
A Pepsi bottling plant in Northeast Philadelphia | Image: Google Street View
Pepsi announced on Wednesday that it will lay off as many as 100 workers at its three Philadelphia-area plants. The company cited lagging sales due to the soda tax as the reasons for the layoffs.
The layoffs, per the Inquirer, will be spread out over the next few months. Employees will be axed from two plants in Philadelphia and one in Wilmington.
“The soda industry sank to a new low today,” city spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said in a statement released to the press. “They are literally holding hostage the jobs of hardworking people in their battle to overturn the tax. Pepsi reported nearly $35 billion in gross income and $6 billion in profit last year, their CEO makes $25 million dollars a year, and they along with the beverage industry continue to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists and advertising against the tax.
“The idea that they can afford to do that but ‘must lay off workers’ should make every Philadelphian very skeptical of whether these layoffs are actually due to the tax.”
Others had different opinions, as you might imagine. Read more »
In its first month, Philadelphia’s beverage tax has brought in $5.7 million, according to information released by the city’s revenue department on Thursday.
The figure more than doubles the city’s $2.3 million prediction for January, and officials expect the preliminary figure to increase once all tax payments have been processed. The current revenue collection for January still falls short of the $7.6 million monthly average the city must collect to meet its $91 million-a-year goal.
“The budget office’s projection of $2.3 million was intentionally conservative because this is a new tax, and it was difficult to determine the extent, if any, of issues that taxpayers would have in filing for the first month,” city spokesperson Mike Dunn told Philadelphia magazine. Read more »
In the two months since Philly’s beverage tax was implemented, some grocers and drink distributors are reporting significant sales drops, and the city expects soda tax revenue for the first month to be well below initial projections.
Some local businesses are reporting sales drops as high as 50 percent and major layoffs that will continue into the spring. Bob Brockway, chief operating officer of Canada Dry Delaware Valley, which distributes about 20 percent of Philadelphia’s sweetened beverage, told the Inquirer that sales were down 45 percent and that they have plans to lay off 20 percent of its workforce — 35 positions, including salespeople, managers, and drivers — as a result. Read more »
Thirty-six state lawmakers have signed on to a brief opposing Philadelphia’s soda tax in Commonwealth Court. The Inquirer reported on Monday that the five state senators and 31 state representatives include three Philadelphia lawmakers: state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, state Rep. Angel Cruz, and state Rep. Martina White.
The beverage industry sued Philadelphia late last year over the soda tax, which applies a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax to all sweetened beverage products sold within city limits. While the tax is applied to distributors, most retail outlets are passing the cost on to consumers. A judge threw out the lawsuit, but an appeal is pending. Read more »
A 99-cent bottle of ginger ale becomes $2 at ShopRite. (Photo by Aria Fiorillo)
In the wake of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax — more commonly referred to as the Soda Tax — coming into effect, residents are fuming at both the city and at ShopRite, which seems to be one of the only major retailers prominently displaying the amount of tax added to an item, as seen in the photo above. Some have accused ShopRite of price-gouging and outright fraud — the chain was adding a surcharge to products that aren’t part of the tax — and of using the tax tags to make a covert political statement. Here, ShopRite vice president Karen Meleta responds. Read more »
Photo by Radu Bercan/iStock
If you’ve been paying any attention at all to your social media feeds in Philadelphia over these first few days of 2017, you are no doubt aware that the world is coming to an end. Life as we know it is over. Our core values of freedom, liberty, and — what was that other thing? — oh yeah, the pursuit of happiness? Pfft. Good luck ever finding those again. And why? The dreaded Soda Tax, of course! Read more »