Philly's City Council Okays Amended Soda Tax

Posted On: 6/10/2016

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TAGS: Philly soda tax, Philadelphia City Council, sugary drinks tax, diet soda tax, Mayor Jim Kenney, No Philly Grocery Tax Coalition, Kenney's soda tax, vending

PHILADELPHIA -- A Philadelphia City Council committee voted on June 8 to approve a new tax on sugary drinks and diet sodas, putting the city on track to become the largest in the nation to impose a soda tax.

The tax would be used to fund expanded pre-K and community schools, as well as improvements for the city's parks, libraries and recreation centers. Lawmakers must approve the tax for a second time on June 16 in order for it to become law, which is the expected outcome.

Philly's Council Committee of the Whole approved a 1.5¢ per fluid ounce tax rate, which is half the rate in the initial proposal by Mayor Jim Kenney.

City legislators also voted to add diet soda, which brings the total projected revenue to $91 million a year, only $4 million less than the $95 million projected in Kinney's original 3¢ per-fl.oz. proposal.

"We are disappointed that City Council has chosen to move forward with a discriminatory tax opposed by the majority of Philadelphians," said the No Philly Grocery Tax Coalition, an advocacy group supported by American Beverage Association. "This tax will fall hardest on those who can least afford it, hurt small businesses and is an unsustainable way to pay for important programs."

The beverage industry spent nearly $3 million on an ad campaign to defeat Kenney's soda tax. Former Mayor Michael Nutter proposed soda taxes twice but both rejected. | READ MORE

Berkeley, CA, was the first and is the only U.S. city to approve such a tax. SEE STORY