Outrage in Philadelphia as New Soda Tax Doubles Drink Prices

That won't stop other cities and states from trying to duplicate the dubious policy.


A new tax on soda and other sugary drinks that took effect in New Year's Day in Philadelphia is already generating outrage from some residents and businesses in the city.

Meanwhile, in New York and elsewhere, lobbyists and public officials are looking to duplicate the dubious policy.

When it was passed last year, Philadelphia became the largest city in the nation to create a specific tax for soda and sugary beverages, a policy that had previously been contained to progressive enclaves like Berkeley, California. The tax is levied at a rate of 1.5 cents per ounce, which makes it 24 times more expensive than Pennsylvania's taxes on beer.

Practically, that means that some drinks end up being nearly twice as expensive after the tax is applied, turning $2 sodas into $4 sodas.

That's causing quite a stir in the city, as social media posts this week have revealed. In one photo that went viral after being posted to Facebook, a receipt shows more than $3 in tax added to the cost of a $5.99 12-pack of Propel, an energy drink.

The Tax Foundation posted photos from inside grocery stores in Philadelphia and confirmed the ridiculously high taxes on products like Propel and other sports drinks. With the tax added, the 12 pack of Propel ends up costing more than a 12-pack of cheap beer, the organization noted.

City officials told KYW-3 that the tax was intended to hit distributors of sugary drinks. In a shocking twist, the TV station reported on Wednesday night that the tax "is being passed onto the customer."

After the tax was passed, some economists suggested that it would hurt businesses in the city by giving customers a good incentive to buy beverages outside city limits. Small businesses interviewed by Reason in October expressed similar concerns, since the tax is applied not only to cans and bottles of soda, but to soda fountains (like the ones found in many pizza places and cheesesteak joints across Philadelphia) too.

Already, those predictions seem to be coming true, at least anecdotally.

Rather than nudging people to make heather decisions about what they drink—as the tax is supposed to, even though the health benefits of soda taxes are overrated—it might just nudge Philadelphians to shop outside the city whenever possible.

Businesses in the city might suffer from the tax, but they also get to deal with more paperwork too.

Marisa Waxman, Philadelphia's first deputy revenue commissioner, tells WHYY that city retailers need to keep their bills to show their compliance, since there won't be a tax stamp or sticker on the beverages.

"Even if you are compliant," said Waxman, "make sure you are hanging on to all your invoices and records so if we show up at your establishment you can show us yep I am doing what I need to be doing."

The city will be hiring additional tax collectors to make sure everything is paid up, WHYY reports.

About the only people happy with the new tax are, predictably, the city officials who will have an estimated $90 million in new annual revenue to spend. Officials in Philadelphia sold the soda tax by promising to use the revenue to fund a new pre-K program for the city's youngest schoolchildren. As Baylen Linnekin noted in July, "spending tens of millions of dollars to expand pre-K in a city where even the most optimistic reports show city schools already fail to educate children and are routinely broke may not be the best idea."

That's really only half the story, though. Fifty-one percent of the soda tax revenue will be spent on other things, including the city's parks, economic development programs and disability benefits for city employees, among other things. By the third year the tax is in place, about 30 percent of the revenue would flow to the city's fund balance, meaning it could be used for almost anything.

Even with the outrage over Philadelphia's new soda tax, some special interests in New York State are already calling for a similar, statewide, measure there.

The New York Daily News reports that the head of a hospital lobby wants the state to impose a soda tax, with the revenue raised dedicated to help fund health care.

According to sources who spoke with the Daily News, the president of the Greater New York Hospital Association told his board that a soda tax could help ameliorate the financial hit the state's health care system faces with the potential repeal of Obamacare under a Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress.

Michael Bloomberg has voiced support for more sugary drink taxes along the line of what Philadelphia has adopted. Four cities—Boulder, Colorado, and three California cities: San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany—approved soda taxes in November via ballot initiative and the Board of Commissioners in Cook County, Illinois, passed a soda tax in November too.

Expect more stories of sticker shock—and incredulous reporting about how taxes end up being paid by consumer even though they are targeted at distributors—as soda taxes continue to expand.

NEXT: Inside Mississippi's Asset Forfeiture Extortion Racket

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  1. We can’t have all these fatasses throwing the obamacare models out of whack.

    1. This has been my primary objection to state healthcare. The fear in me of the slippery slope. Once they are in charge of paying for your doctor bills, they are in charge of making sure you are healthy.

      1. Also, killing you off through withheld care when you stop being of use to your masters.

      2. Ah, but they have wanted to be in charge of how you live essentially forever. All these self-slcted elites are the same. The Social Darwinists of the late 19th century were all for coercing the ‘common man’ into chastity, sobriety, or whatever other bee they had in their bonnent. The Progressives are no different. It’s clear from their actual treatment of animals that PETA isn’t about animal welfare, it’s about hectoring people into lifestyle changes. This is no goddamned different. The unwashed have decided that thin is out. The fashionable,profile is shifting, and the Beautiful People are having a hissy fit.

        (Civil War General-worthy beards are also making a comeback)

        We the People really need to start telling these buttinskis to go piss up a,rope,and stand under it while it dries.

        1. The defining characteristic of progressivism is the idea that government’s job is to make people be better. This is not only anti-liberal, it’s actually a pre-liberal idea, going back to Hobbes.

          1. *clears throat*

            Fuck Hobbes.

          2. The defining EXCUSE of Progressivism is the idea that it is the job of the State to make people be better. That was also the defining excuse of the Medieval Kings. In both cases it really boiled down to “do as you are told by your betters, you stupid peasants”.

            It isn’t a Progressive trope, it’s an elitist trope.

      3. Pretty much. Get ready for the ‘you cost or put too much strain on the system’ to justify onerous or macabre health decisions.

        You belong to the state.

        Not sure what it’s gonna take for NORTH AMERICANS to understand this.

        1. D..d..d…death panels??

          Who woulda thunk it!

      4. It’s really fucking stupid too, because people living healthy lifestyles doesn’t save any money on health care costs. At best it simply delays the costs for a while. The overwhelming majority of health care spending for most people comes near the end of their life when they get old, get sick, and then die.

        No matter how healthy a lifestyle you live, eventually you’re going to get sick and die. And it’s not as if most people stop going in for routine checkups because they live a healthy lifestyle.

        1. Routine check ups will be put under strain.


        2. Routine checkups should be covered by insurance.

          That’s like saying all routine maintenance of your car should be paid for by the manufacturer forever. Your Chevrolet Cruze would be sticker priced for $78,000 then.

          1. Dammit! Routine checkups should NOT be covered by insurance.

            1. You seem to have mixed feelings on this.

              1. Seems to me that the smartest thing for big brother to do is encourage people to eat and drink terrible things.

                Letting people rot seems to work well in Cuba and Venezuela.

                If we are broke, why do we need all of these people living so long?

                1. And encourage people to smoke. Weren’t there some studies that showed that smokers overall have lower lifetime health care costs than non-smokers?


                    lol, very interesting.

                    1. And of course they were quickly swept under the rug. No need to air the uglier side of utilitarian calculus.

            2. Well, should not be required to be covered by insurance. If insurance companies deem it to be a good idea, then they should cover it.

          2. It is a truism, one might even call it an iron law, that you can not insure against a sure thing. At that point, it’s an installment plan before the fact.

            Retards don’t understand any single thing about insurance. It’s a magic word to them. Now, they are required to purchase a product they literally do not understand and we somehow expect things to get better.

            Thanks, Obama.

        3. You’re not very old, are you? The costs racked up by an unhealthy person go on for years and years before they reach the dying stage and then they tend to die slowly.

          I’m not the healthiest person but I do work hard to stay off meds and at 55, I don’t take any daily meds and have reduced my inhaler use to about 6 times a year. I have friends my age who have been on 2 or 3 daily meds since 40 as well as the drs. visits, tests etc that go along with that. And because the meds take care of the symptoms, they don’t do anything to stay healthy so they get sicker and sicker requiring more care.

        4. A friend of mine in the tobacco industry had data showing that smokers actually cost less because they die of heart attacks before they collect social security and medicare.

          They weren’t allowed to use that line of argument in the US, but it was levied elsewhere.

      5. This has been my primary objection to state healthcare. The fear in me of the slippery slope. Once they are in charge of paying for your doctor bills, they are in charge of making sure you are healthy.

        Exactly the official excuse used to tax sugar, fat, snacks, etc. in places like Denmark.

      6. No the government is executing you, putting you down is a medical procedure.

    2. Then why tax Propel, a drink that has no sugar and isn’t carbonated either?

      I expect this tax will eventually be repealed because it will result in people shopping outside Philly; thus, denying the city tax revenue from other products that will be bought outside the city when shoppers go elsewhere thanks to the high soda tax. Driving outside the city will save $6 for purchasing a 24 pack of propel, plus probably money for other drinks. Sounds like a good reason to start shopping in a grocer outside the city. It will reduce tax revenues.

      1. For some people leaving the city to shop is an option. For people reliant on public transportation it isn’t always possible. Basically what we have is a tax on people who are too poor to have their own car.

      2. They’ll raise the fuel taxes in order to try and make it cost more than the tax to drive out of the city to buy soda.

      3. Highly doubt it will be repealed. They instituted a draconian cigarette tax in Philly a few years back. I don’t know anyone who buys cigarettes in the city anymore. Although it has generated only a fraction of the promised revenue, there are no initiatives to repeal it. I suspect the same will play out with this one as well

  2. Fifty-one percent of the soda tax revenue will be spent on other things, including the city’s parks, economic development programs and [b] disability benefits for city employees [/b], among other things.

    Drink soda to help those city employees retire early.

    1. Why not tax donuts then? When the fat pig walks in for a free donut, the clerk can charge him the tax. No tax payment, no donut.

      1. “Why not tax donuts then?”

        Cops would demand a raise.

        1. Fine, pay for it with a higher donut tax. It would be nice to turn cops and aldermen into centrifuges.

      2. Wondering what a tax donut tastes like. Probably cardboard & rage.

        1. “cardboard & rage.” Bravissimo. Le mot juste.

    2. The extra $90m is likely already budgeted to be spent. When they only get $50m they’ll have to raise the tax again

  3. One way they could prevent this kind of stuff is for the people who create and pass these ordinances to have to stand for election and only assume office with the voter’s consent. Rational voters would never elect the kind of people who enact ordinances like this. It’s fundamentally unfair that Philadelphians have to endure being governed by an unaccountable council more concerned with tax revenue than with the lives of citizens.

    1. Rational voters would never elect the kind of people who enact ordinances like this.

      That’s the trouble with rational. We don’t actually appear to be.

      1. Who is “we,” kemosabe?

        1. Humans. You may, in fact, be an as-yet unclassified species. The barbed penis ought to have been our first clue.

          1. I get no complaints from the ladies. What’s a hamster doing speaking for the whole human race, anyway?

            1. WHATEVER I LIKE, BABY, YEAH.

            2. Barbed penis, huh?

              *gets out nail file*

    2. People seem more than happy to vote things like this in on the ballot initiative.

      This is what cheeses me off about the “libertarians who don’t vote” crowd. Looking at you KMW. 🙂

    3. Ha! Yeah, because this sort of outrage works so well in unseating local politicians, like all those who unabashedly support steep increases in tobacco taxes. Dollars to soda cans, the media will be completely mum on the subject during the next election cycle, while they completely fail to announce the start of whatever short registration period there is to sign up for a local election, then only briefly mention it once the period is closed, and spend little time afterward covering those candidates – no probing questions, just allowing each candidate to give a feel-good but meaningless blurb on why they’re running.

  4. Thanks Shop-Rite for showing the tax separately. Too many taxes end up being obscured in the price and do nothing to “hit home” the issue to the buyer/voter. That said, 85% of the community in Phila. hardest hit by this tax will continue to support the Democrat Party machine that has controlled Phila. since 1960.

    1. “Grape soda drinkers hardest hit!”

      Is that what you’re saying?

        1. That’s Grape Drank to you MJG.

    2. This worked in New Jersey in the early 1990s when the Democrats increased the sales tax and expanded the categories of products subject to the sales tax. Vendors posted signs letting consumers know that price increases were due to the increased tax and made a point of listing taxes separately. The backlash led to the Republicans taking control of the State Legislature for most of the decade and the repeal of the tax increase.

      Legislators like excise taxes like the soda tax because consumers usually perceive the tax as a price increase that they blame on the vendor. That is why the stores in Philly are doing what they are doing. It is also why, for years, federal law banned airlines from listing federal taxes on flight tickets as a separate line item when billing a purchaser.

      1. People don’t realize that before the federal income tax, excise taxes were the main source of revenue. When you’re writing up a receipt manually, or entering the amounts in the manual cash registers, entering all the excise taxes as separate items is a huge waste of time and effort.

        So rolling the taxes into the item price back then was practical and the obfuscation benefited the cocksuckers who legislated the taxes. But thanks to computers the only drawback to listing each tax separately nowadays is the register tape runs out sooner.

      2. It is also why, for years, federal law banned airlines from listing federal taxes on flight tickets as a separate line item when billing a purchaser.

        That… sounds like a violation of freedom of speech. I mean, you could make the argument with pro-consumer disclosure requirement, or a security-related non-disclosure requirement, but mandated non-disclosure of true, relevant consumer information should be way on the other side of the line.

        1. I think some states prohibit itemizing the gas tax on reciepts. I had the same reaction you do.

          1. Texas posts the gas taxes on the pumps.

            Or, I should say the gas stations in Texas do.

            1. Pa increased our gas tax by 8 cents on Jan 1, for a total of 27 cents over the last 4 years – from 31 to 58. I don’t believe that’s posted on the pump. I had to read it from Salena Zito.

        2. It’s a clear conflict of interest regardless, and clearly a bad practice as well as unethical. You know, standard government operating procedure.

      3. Yeah, I was amazed at the breakdown of the cost of a $760 flight I just booked – half the total was Taxes and Fees.

        1. Europe is ridiculous about this. $99 fare on Ryan Air was like $350 after taxes.

    3. Cue whiny European tourists complaining about taxes not being included in stated prices.

      1. Coming from a no sales tax state, I was always annoyed by that too.

        Ideally, I’d like to see the total I’m going to pay and how much of that is tax on a price tag.

        1. The problem is that sales tax can be different in every zip code. You can’t advertise a price across a whole city/state if the final price is a few cents different in every shop.

  5. Up next: municipal use taxes because fytw

  6. In a shocking twist, the TV station reported on Wednesday night that the tax “is being passed onto the customer.”


    You know, Washington did this with booze and it was really stupid, but I think more people drink pop and this might not end well.

    1. Can you believe it?

      /Joe Castiglione

    2. Seattle tried a latte tax several years ago. It lasted about a month.

    3. Pop? That’s the stupid word they use in Chicago. I thought that in your part of the world, all soda was called Coke?

      1. I wasn’t born in this part of the world. I was born in a pop-drinking part of the world.

        Every time someone at the grocery store says “buggy”, I giggle.

        1. You must live in my neighborhood. My grocery store even has “Pop” on the sign hanging above the aisle so you can get your buggy to the right spot

    1. Oh, so now you’re adding anti-Semitism to your normal trolling bullshit? Swell.

      1. Adding?

  7. Hoagies & grinders, hoagies & grinders
    Hoagies & grinders, hoagies & grinders
    Navy beans, navy beans, navy beans
    Hoagies & grinders, hoagies & grinders
    Navy beans, navy beans
    Meatloaf sandwich
    sloppy joe, slop, sloppy joe
    sloppy joe, slop, sloppy joe
    sloppy joe, slop, sloppy joe
    sloppy joe, slop, sloppy joe

    1. Crusty, You’re a wiz-wit.

  8. They might take a little longer to get around to it, but Philadelphia eventually gets around to the terrible ideas you find in larger cities. So don’t feel like you are missing out, Philly.

    1. This is all your doing isn’t it? If you can’t have sugar then nobody can? Is that it?

      1. The tax is on artificially sweetened sodas as well.

        1. Serious question: And on “MiO”?

          1. Reading the law, I think so, but I’m not sure.

            It would be the cheapest option even if taxed, since it would be 2.4 cent tax on the entire 1.6 oz Mio and zero taxes on the water, reducing the taxes to .0125 cents per ounce for 192 ounces of water flavored by the Mio.

            1. Exactly. And this could be a dodge for other drinks – Coke syrup is a thing – although the carbonation would be missing unless you sprang for those home soda machines. Maybe those guys are behind this tax!

        2. “Gateway” drink….

  9. “Unless a person is mean and cruel in a genocidal way,” Rabbi Hier, an executive at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Daily Caller in an interview, “I think making that comparison detracts and takes away from the cruelty of Hitler.”

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a global human rights organization based in Los Angeles that studies and teaches the Holocaust and anti-Semitism in a contemporary context to confront hared towards Jews.

    Rabbi Hier says that drawing analogies between Nazi Germany and other genocidal mass-murders is valid and understandable, but to compare Hitler to GOP presidential candidates shows not only gross insensitivity to Jews, it also shows a lack of common sense.

    I never doubted for a second that the Holocaust was real. Then I read this guy is giving the benediction at Trump’s inauguration. Honestly I don’t know what to believe any more.

    1. If you just give in to your endless misery and kill yourself you won’t have to spend any more time agonizing over these kinds of brainbusters, Weigel.

      1. And think of the effect on CO2 production!

  10. I wish sin taxes were unconstitutional. I find them to be restricting my freedom of expression. I’m not really joking either. I think Facebook and instagram feeds being filled with pictures of food illustrates this. I express myself by mixing drinks, there is an art to the perfectly crafted mai tai. But if someone wants to indulge in a soda, fast food, booze, cigarettes or whatever other unhealthy habit they have it is a integral part of expressing who they are. By taxing them you are infringing on this.

    1. Any tax infringes on something. What’s your point?

  11. My class in business ethics is apparently just a class in communist idiocy of common good with no understanding of how economics works so I’ve been having fun fucking with them.

    Like the Soda tax we had to discuss if McDonalds was unethical for serving high calorie food. And by discuss I mean agree. So I brought up the demographics of McDonalds being preferred by blacks, the poor and the less educated and Starbucks serving junk but not getting attacked. Then I suggested they were all a bunch of racists for attacking what blacks liked but not the junk whites liked. The reactions were pretty funny.

    1. Good for you. It’s time these assholes are challenged.

      Plus they need to be reminded of the ‘unseen’ consequences of their stupid retardation in social engineering.

    2. So where do you work now that you have been expelled?

      1. I have a job, getting my degree part time. Often I’m the oldest person in these classes.

    3. Most people until recently would give just about anything to have access to the cheap, high calorie food provided by McD’s etc. I’d think they ought to get a prize for alleviating hunger, not a whipping for creating fat people.

    4. Like I said the other day, progressives created “grocery deserts” in poor sections of cities, but they won’t stop until all the convenience stores and short order restaurants vanish too.

      At some point thought it is kinda karmic, as the poorest residents seem to vote for the evilest progressives. This is something Bailey forgot to mention in his “Stuck” article.

    5. Tell them that you support the soda tax, and it is about time that the poor start paying their fair share.

    6. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that one 🙂


    7. McDonalds at least has portion control. Eat a meal at a sit-down restaurant, and you’re eating 2000 calories.

  12. Who do you think drinks the most soda? Certainly not the latte and merlot sipping progs who come up with these tax ideas. Ditto for cigarette taxes. Seattle tried to pass a tax on coffee drinks about 15 years ago to pay for pre-K and it was voted down by a 2-1 margin. Most of the low income kids that the Philly tax is meant to help are probably already eligible for Head Start and other programs anyway, so what we have here is the poor subsidizing child care and other services for rich white urban progs-Robin Hood in reverse.

    1. The funny thing about the coffee tax was that it was really a tax on steamed milk. Coffee wasn’t subject to it, even if you added milk or cream. Chai lattes were subject to it, although they don’t contain coffee. Somehow the act of steaming milk created the sin that required taxation.

      1. What about steamed milk itself?

        Could I order a cup of steamed milk with espresso on the side?

  13. How about a bottle of carbonated water and a small half ounce flavor packet sold separately? you could call it FYTW-Cola.

    1. or Dr. Fucktaxes.

    2. Or a shot of soda stream syrup for “free”.

    3. Anything sold in a half-ounce packet MUST be illegal!

      1. Dude, you know how much an oz goes for these days? Who’s got f you money?

    4. This is inherently what a fountain soda does. The syrup is subject to taxation.

  14. As a resident living just a little bit on the MontCo side of the City line, I’d like to say “Thanks” to Philadelphia for sending its beverage sales our way.

  15. Been a few years since we saw a good old-fashioned tax revolt. I remember Calif. Prop 13, and I remember senior citizens chasing Rostenkowski down the street over a health insurance surtax. Come on, Philadelphians! Grab the torches and pitchforks!

    1. Philadelphians (and NYers) will gladly pay any tax for the privileges of urban living /sarc

      1. If they didn’t live in a city, how would they know they are better?

    2. Every time I’m reminded of that piece of shit Rostenkowski, I wonder if I should cut Hitler a little slack.

      1. You most certainly should! Hitler did the world a favor by killing Hitler. Rostenkowski should do the same thing.

  16. Submitted once again for your consideration, the Philly tax applies not only to sugary beverage but their sugar-free counterparts as well. Mull that over for a moment, and when you’re done straining your eyes up toward the ceiling, consider a few of the reasons given to support taxing calorie-free drinks: a) artificial sweeteners are bad, because chemicals! (submitted by a nutritionist), and b) taxing sugarless drinks ensures that wealthier people who tend to drink them are hit with the same penalty as poorer people who tend to consume sugary drinks (this was advanced by the city council itself).

    There is no pit of derp so deep these morons won’t try to excavate even deeper.

    1. They wanted a 3 cent tax per ounce on just sugared drinks, but compromised with a 1.5 cent tax extended to diet drinks as well.

      No, I’m not kidding.

    2. “taxing sugarless drinks ensures that wealthier people who tend to drink them are hit with the same penalty as poorer people who tend to consume sugary drinks (this was advanced by the city council itself).”

      Actually, there was a recent study that claimed diet drinks cause weight gain by tricking the body into thinking it just had sugar and releasing insulin (in rats at least). Or they cause overweight people to compensate for the diet drink by ordering a triple cheeseburger and super size fries with their diet coke. Take your pick, of course they always have “science” to justify any tax they want.

      1. That study sounds like complete bullshit. If you don’t eat more calories, you will not gain more weight.

        Diet drinks are pretty useful things.

        1. Well, the concerns are relevant to the idea that weight gain is mediated by insulin response, primarily to carbohydrates. So it’s interesting if there’s a phantom response to artificial sweeteners spiking insulin release. I don’t know the state of research on the subject, but my thinking is that even if artificial sweeteners spike insulin production, better that then spiking insulin and consuming a ton of sucrose in the process. It’s probably more important for people with the diabetus or high insulin resistance.

        2. I do know that most low-carb diets say no-no on the fake sugar substitutes, and they seem to be effective.

          1. Affirming the consequent would be required to make that refute my point.

            Diet drinks are great. Very useful for losing weight. If they do make someone too hungry to limit his calorie consumption, then as a practical matter, that person should indeed stop them. But ceteris paribus, a Coke Zero substituting for a regular Coke will inherently limit calories and thus weight gain.

            1. ceteris paribus

              Therein lies the rub. A diligent person can make effective use of a diet drink. Someone whose only dietetic behavior is to switch from sugary to diet drinks is not inherently keeping all else equal.

            2. ceteris paribus

              Yer sher gots a purty mouth

        3. The problem, besides the unrelated fact that not all calories are equal, is that most people do not seriously “count calories”. Swapping out your sugary drinks for artificially sweetened ones might seem to reduce your caloric intake but if you’re not actually controlling your other sources of calories, then that end result could be no net change or even an increase in caloric intake.

          1. Speaking from personal experience, it’s a lot easier to stick with a diet if it requires making a few minor changes at a time, and switching to diet soda is an easy way to cut out a couple of hundred calories per day.

            1. Switching to water only is even more effective!

              1. And has the extra benefit of not tasting terrible.

        4. The study is almost certainly bullshit: it was entirely done on rats, does not directly measure insulin response in any way (which even if it did would not necessarily apply to humans) and has yet to be replicated.

          And if you like anecdotal evidence: I lost 200+ pounds drinking a whole shit ton of diet soda.

          1. Two consecutive wives left you ’cause you couldn’t kick your soda habit?

            1. He got those divorces on the cheap, too, at only ?100 apiece.

              1. Was that before or after Brexit devalued the pound to Bolivar levels?

        5. You know what’s even better than diet drinks? Water.

      2. So you order a water and a quadruple cheeseburger then.

    3. Back when this was being debated didn’t a city official basically admit that the tax was purely about revenue and not about public health at all?

      1. Yes, the frankness was stunning. They are so brazen about their thievery anymore they don’t try to hide it.

    4. a) artificial sweeteners are bad, because chemicals! (submitted by a nutritionist)

      A comprehensive overview of chemical-free consumer products. Read it so you can protect yourself. Don’t be misinformed!

      1. I didn’t see Reason on the list.


      Matty Y, 4.5 years ago:

      The more interesting question is the long-term one. I’ll gladly pay $3 for my Diet Pepsi because I’m already a diet soda junkie. But if all Diet Pepsies everywhere were this expensive, would I have taken it up in the first place? Very possibly not.

  17. That note by Finks was perfect.

    People need to be made aware.

  18. Philadelphia became the largest city in the nation to create a specific tax for soda and sugary beverages, a policy that had previously been contained to progressive enclaves like Berkeley, California

    It has also already passed in San Francisco, Boulder CO, is on the table in Chicago, and has been repeatedly proposed in NYC and NYS at different times over the last 8 years.

    it was never really that “contained”.

    1. Just pointing out that it is the COUNTY, not just Chicago. What the hell, we know Hellinois will be just as stupid and Indiana will benefit yet again.

  19. I know it’s preaching to the choir, but sin taxes are terrible. The whole idea of government charging me for items or services not provided by them, for my own good, stinks. Let me make my own damn mind up about what I should, or should not eat/drink/do…

    1. The whole idea of government charging me for items or services not provided by them, for my own good, stinks.

      “Oh, very well. It’s *not* for your own good.”

    2. My body, my choice.

      1. Your body, our revenue.

  20. Officials … sold the soda tax by promising to use the revenue to fund a new pre-K program for the city’s youngest schoolchildren.

    Yeah, about that…?

    ….In November 1998, the tobacco industry and 46 states reached what is known as the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (four states reached separate settlements). This group deal exempted the industry from legal liability for the harm caused by tobacco use. In return, the tobacco companies agreed to make annual payments, in perpetuity, to the states to fund anti-smoking campaigns and public health programs. The industry guaranteed a minimum of $206 billion over the first 25 years.

    While a requirement that the states use these funds as intended was not written into the agreement, it was anticipated that they would do so.

    They haven’t.

    what follows is the explanation of how any of these feel-good health measures end up simply padding the crony-union pension funds and general spending of any municipality suddenly granted a new source of revenue.

    1. Even if they used it for pre-K, it’s been demonstrated pre-K has no lasting beneficial effect on kids’ education. It’s daycare and precisely nothing else.

      1. precisely nothing else

        It’s also a jobs program.

        1. which is also just a “new captured voters” program for crony pols. Anything that expands the Teacher’s unions is good for business.

          i think it would be interesting if a third party collected data on, “how many residents in each city work for the city” (either directly or indirectly by contract), and mapped out who they were and how much $ they suck up. It would possibly be enlightening for voters.

          1. I don’t know much about Philadelphia, but in Baltimore’s case, much (most?) of the personal income comes from government at one level or another, directly or indirectly. There are a few large companies left, and some factories, but many (most?) of the employees live outside the city.

        2. Another in a long line of programs designed to transfer wealth from taxpayers to a reliable bloc of Democrat voters.

    2. Ugh. It all seems to hopeless today. Just put me in my matrix tube already Uncle Sam.

  21. How about a 200% tax on contributions to liberal/democratic politicians? Use it to fund healthcare centers.

    1. Hmm. Wonder if The Donald will be open to good ideas like Obama was?

  22. The crazy thing is, this is really about being in against inexpensive food and drink. The “terrible” sugar content (120 g / liter) is just about the same as, or perhaps even a bit lower than the average sugar content in natural fresh pressed apple “cider” (“juice” outside of the USA).

    The penaltax is not only foolish, but sloppy.

    1. That is part of it, no doubt, but also the popular belief that soda is “artificial” and “full of chemicals” whereas juice is “natural” and “healthy”. It’s interesting to me that, while the vast majority of people would never consider themselves adherents of “new age” religions, a good many of them nevertheless embrace the new age naturalistic fallacy.

    2. It’s also a lot of fructose. No, not that, anything but that!

      1. Semen contains fructose. Are they collecting tax on that?

  23. More black market jobs!

  24. Christ. Just the damn sales tax is 12%.

    1. PA sales tax is 6% and Philadelphia adds another 2%, I wonder where the other 4% comes from? ShopRite is a grocery store, not a restaurant.

      1. If they charged tax on the other tax, it works out to 8%. If my mental math is right anyway.

  25. Since sugar is such a scourge, maybe we should just kill everybody and their descendants who were ever involved in the manufacturing of sugar.

    (It’s my Domino theory.)

  26. Is this a tax on the container size, or is McD’s responsible for dinging you again on the tax when you get the ‘free’ refill?

    If half of my 32-oz drink is ice, am I only responsible for taxes on 16 oz of sugared drink?

    If my drink is low-sugar (Coca-Cola Life) can I get a tax decrease?

    If not, I guess I prefer the most sugar for my money. Can I get a super-sugarized version of Dr Pepper for the same tax hit that everyone else pays for regular Dr Pepper?

    1. Most drinks mix a syrup with water in the machine. Only the syrup should be subject to tax, since they give you water for free.

  27. City officials told KYW-3 that the tax was intended to hit distributors of sugary drinks. In a shocking twist, the TV station reported on Wednesday night that the tax “is being passed onto the customer.”

    They just need a new law which outlaws the passing of taxes onto the consumer.

  28. Why is this a bad idea? We tax tobacco products because of their adverse effects on people’s health costing society huge amounts of money for health care because consumption kills people. Foods with high levels of high fructose corn syrup have been proven to cause obesity and Type II diabetes. Early mortality and massive health care costs are the result of consuming your three cans of coke a day.

    1. Aren’t you adorable.

      “costing society huge amounts of money for health care”

      ^^^ here’s the problem that needs fixing. Stop forcing people to pay for other people’s bad decisions.

      1. Exactly. Why should I pay for some poor slobs Medicare costs for insulin shots, kidney transplants and heart reconstruction after massive heart attacks brought on by being obese, all because he had to have a liter of Coke a day? Seems unfair to me.

        1. So, the government (um, I mean, WE) shouldn’t have to pay for the health care of other people, right? That’s what you are saying, RIGHT???!?!??

          1. Absolutely not. Tax to the max products consumed which burden society with health care costs. Tobacco. High fructose corn syrup. Over the course of their lifetimes users will reimburse society for the healthcare costs they are sure to require. That seems fair to me. You?

            1. What happens when people stop using those products, yet the governments spending now relies on those products?

              Oh, wait. I already know the answer. They’ll find something else to tax into the ground while learning nothing. If you think this is about health concerns, then sadly you have not been paying attention. The fact they are taxing sugar free drinks should be a red flag, but I can see you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed.

            2. About those healthcare costs:


    2. Fuck off slaver

      1. WTF? Are you consuming two liters of Pepsi a day sitting on your couch collecting the dole and watching soap operas?

        1. I don’t think he is. But you seem to also want to take the money of people who drink 8 ounces of Pepsi a day while working hard. Which a lot of libertarianish folks think of as fractional slavery.

        2. I rarely drink soda but back to your point-your argument would be valid if taxes for unhealthy products went directly into personal health savings accounts for those who consume them to pay for their lung cancer treatment, heart bypasses, liver transplants, etc. But more than 90% of these taxes go into city and state general funds. Hike the taxes too high and the black market will be all too happy to step in but you will still be left holding the bag to pay for the bureaucrats’ salaries.

    3. “We tax tobacco products because of their adverse effects on people’s health costing society huge amounts of money for health care…”

      No, we tax them because the government wanted revenue and tobacco was an easy target to shake down. The costs to society are imposed by the very government you seem to think are altruistic.

      Sin taxes are incredibly short sighted tax hikes that are politically easy but don’t solve the spending woes they are intended to mask. It’s not a coincidence these proposals are coming only from Democrat cities with massive public pension liabilities, you fool.

    4. Cigarette smokers cost less to society because they die before they collect SS and Medicare.

    5. That would work if the taxes actually went to pay for problems. PA’s tax on cigarettes isn’t going to pay for the healthcare costs of smokers. Instead it goes to whatever Harrisburg feels they want to spend money on today. On the plus side my parents live in VA and buying a couple cartons covers the cost of gas to see them.

  29. Waitaminnit… the teevee tole dem folks to vote for taxes and asset forfeiture, and marijuana prohibition so cops can shoot kids and dogs and take your savings, home and furniture. And the teevee also said that by secret ballot 96% of everyone who showed up voted for exactly those things. Do what’s WRONG with a 50% tax on pop? Robbery is recycling, right? I can’t wait to see the Carbon Tax!

  30. I predict plenty of smuggling. Followed by predatory enforcement practices, like what PA already does about out-of-state liquor purchases.

    1. Some poor guy is going to get killed for selling loose cans of coke on a street corner.

  31. The city will be hiring additional tax collectors to make sure everything is paid up, WHYY reports.

    Union, civil service unfireable, defined benefit pension, full health benefits workers who vote Democratic, by the way.

  32. Prohibition 2: The Soda War. ” A crazy-but-badass ATF agent bravely infiltrates the Soda Smuggling Cartel and uncovers a vast conspiracy stretching from her toddler’s preschool to the White House. Will she be able to stop Evil MegaCorporationSodaCola and President Donald Hitler from Poisoning our Youth??”. Coming to Netflix in 2020!

    1. Prohibition is removing a product from sale in a society. Taxing a products sales is completely different.

      1. Except when taxes are too high, the product is provided by the black market. 70% of cigarettes smoked in NYC come from out of state.

      2. “Taxing soda into oblivion” isn’t as snappy as a fake movie title

  33. I’m fine with a tax on sugar period. It’s just about one of the worst substances for you, and we are all paying the healthcare costs of it. The money should be used to offset Medicare/Medicaid obesisty costs.

    There’s nothing wrong with making people pay for the consequences of their own actions

    1. We’re all paying for the costs of it because the government said we had to or else we’d go to jail. So because we’re forced to do one activity, we should also be forced to do another activity. Rinse, wash, and repeat until your organs are being harvested for the common good.

      1. True enough, but I think the chances of getting government to stop paying for medical care especially for seniors is somewhere around -1000

    2. Or the government could stop telling people that it’s better for you than fat.

      By the same reasoning, we should tax people who ride motorcycles or go downhill skiing, or engage in any other risky activity. And anyone who lives past age 70. They are pretty likely to have a long hospitalization at some point.

    3. Fuck off, slaver

      1. Check your /sarc/ meter.

  34. Well the mayor is a Democrat and the supermajority of the city council is Democrat?14D – 3R. What do you expect? What they can’t tax they will regulate or license?or outlaw.

  35. When one wonders,will the electorate put the brakes on the misdeeds of their servants, those they elect to public office, strikes me as an all to appropriate question?

  36. Why do the leftists constantly tell us that raising income taxes will have no adverse impact on anything and lowering them will have no positive impact on anything. But, then they joyfully invent huge taxes against anything they’ve decided they don’t like so that people stop doing it. soda tax, gas tax, carbon tax, cigarette tax….

  37. About the only people happy with the new tax are, predictably, the city officials who will have an estimated $90 million in new annual revenue to spend. Officials in Philadelphia sold the soda tax by promising to use the revenue to fund a new pre-K program for the city’s youngest schoolchildren.

    so soda drinkers will be forced to fund a useless “education” project? Nice….
    Ask these city hooh hahs if they’ve ever heard of the “Laffer Curve”…. the well confirmed theory that when a tax is raised an initial increase in revenue is seen, but as that tax is raised higher folks change their behviour and thus incur lower tax liabilities. In the end, the total revenue drops seriously until the tax is rolled back or repealed. So the city are hiring more tax goons? Fine. When folk adjust and get their sodas elsewhere sans tax, or switch to other beverages, the city’s total revenue will drop compared to ante-tax status.
    This is one more ridiculous instance of government-as-god. It won’t last long.

  38. Congratulations, Philadelphia – these are the politicians you voted for.

  39. Smuggling pop – the new growth industry….

  40. Maybe a work around can be instituted by irate soda buyers.
    Order the soda from outside of philly, to be delivered to their local grocery merchant, so that when they are finished buying their other food purchases, they would just pick up the soda at the same time.
    Of such deliveries would have to be free for that pickup.

  41. Who will they blame when the actual new tax revenue falls far short of the estimated $90 million?

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  43. Coke, Pepsi, Monarch Beverages, all the companies who make soft drinks should stand shoulder to shoulder and say they will not ship any products, from any of their company divisions (soft drinks and otherwise) to stores in Philadelphia until that tax is gone.

    If the government idiots want to put high taxes on a food product, let them see what will happen when there’s NO FOOD.

    The companies should be ready to sue any media outlet for libel that puts out negative stories about them for this action.

  44. “Philadelphia’s soda tax was meant to target distributors…”

    I cal Bullshit, or someone doesn’t understand basic economics.

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  46. As the local businesses profiled here make clear, soda taxes will indeed be passed onto consumers. Such policy is regressive, arbitrary and won’t drive real health behavior change. Education and collaboration can teach balanced lifestyles. America’s leading beverage companies are doing their part on this front via the Balance Calories initiative, which aims to reduce beverage calories in the American diet by 20 percent nationally by 2025 by offering more lower- and no-calorie choices and smaller sizes and then finding ways to get people to try them. We also support clear and understandable nutrition facts about foods and beverages and have voluntarily placed clear calorie labels on the front of the bottles and cans we produce. Through these initiatives, and other proactive efforts, beverage companies are helping drive real solutions to public health challenges.

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