New Law Will Heavily Tax People Who Buy Soda And Other Sweetened Beverages. Is This Fair?

Conservative website The Conservative Tribune is reporting today that Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s new tax on soft drinks has gone into effect.

The tax equals one and a half cents per fluid ounce of liquid. This tax will increase the cost of a 12 ounce can of soda by approximately sixteen cents.

The levy of this tax was designed to help fund a pre-kindergarten initiative from the Mayor’s office. It is not a sales tax stress local leaders, and beverages purchased by retailers from distributors prior to January first will not be subject to the tax.

Still, many consumers are surprised at the significant increase of soft drinks at the register.

The tax, which targets beverages containing sweeteners, will affect sodas, colas, diet drinks, lemonade and other fruit drinks, sports drinks, pre-bottled coffee and tea drinks, and “enhanced” waters.

Normal bottled water, pure juices, and dried beverage products such as tea bags and coffees will not be subject to the tax.

The tax is not a sales tax, rather a tax on the amount of sweeteners contained in the product. It equals .015 cents per ounce of drink. On a 20 ounce bottle of soda pop, the additional cost will be .30.

In speaking with the local ABC news affiliate, the the mayor’s office stressed that this is not a sales tax, but a distribution and production tax, which is not legally required to be passed on to end consumers.

“The tax is on the distribution of sweetened beverages from companies like Coca-Cola to dealers like supermarkets, and because it’s not a sales tax, distributors don’t have to pass it on to customers.”

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