Ax the Bev Tax

In The News

POLS ON THE STREET: Soda Tax May Drive Mayoral Race
February 1, 2018
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal on Philadelphia’s Sweetened Drinks Tax on an expedited basis. The decision they reach may shape the fate of Mayor Jim Kenney, whose brainchild it is, and with it the upcoming mayoral election.

Pa. Supreme Court to hear soda tax case
January 30, 2018
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will consider the legality of Philadelphia’s tax on soda and other sweetened beverages, giving fresh hope to opponents of the controversial levy.

First full year of soda tax revenue puts city $13M+ short of goal
January 26, 2018
The final monthly revenue amount for the Philadelphia Beverage Tax is in, with the December revenue bringing in $6.5 million for the city's coffers, according to preliminary reports.

Alcohol sales are up in Philly. Is the soda tax driving us to drink?
January 26, 2018
Looking to see what might happen when soft drinks and other sugary beverages are taxed, British researchers found something interesting: People seem to buy less soda and more alcohol.

Letter to the Editor: The battle lines of the beverage tax
January 17, 2018
Many of Teamsters are seeing 50 percent reductions in their take-home pay, the letter writer says.

PRESS RELEASE: New Oxford Economics Study Finds Beverage Tax Cost Local Jobs and Inflicted Economic Damage
January 9, 2018
A new study released by leading economic analysis firm Oxford Economics found that Philadelphia’s beverage tax has cost local blue-collar jobs in retail, bottling and trucking and logistics and inflicted tens of millions of dollars of economic pain on local businesses.

One year later, Philly soda tax still controversial
January 1, 2018
Soda prices have gone up in Philadelphia. And so has the number of children attending pre-K. While those are among the things that have changed in the first year of Philadelphia’s tax on soda and other sweetened beverages, there has been one constant: The tax remains controversial...

Soda tax? This Philly Mummers club isn't a fan
January 1, 2018
The Philadelphia Soda Tax has some fierce opponents. Count the Golden Slipper NYB among them.

December 29, 2017
Philadelphia businesses and families have suffered through a year of Philadelphia’s beverage tax.

In November, city's beverage tax brings in lowest monthly revenue yet
December 29, 2017
For the second time since Philadelphia implemented a tax on soda and other sweetened beverages, the city's beverage tax has yielded less than $6 million in monthly revenue.

Philly's soda tax has spawned multiple studies. Here's what we've learned
December 23, 2017
Philadelphia’s tax on soda and other sweetened beverages has been in effect for nearly a year. As city officials, business owners, and beverage industry lobbyists continue to debate the controversial, 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax – and other cities watch closely – researchers have scrambled to study its impact.

How ShopRite's Jeff Brown became a progressive - and a soda tax opponent
December 18, 2017
A lot of fellow progressives in town are giving Jeff Brown the side-eye. He doesn’t actually seem to care.

Taxes and death ... of sane policy-making
December 14, 2017
Reckless tax policy enacted along party lines by pols over the objections of credentialed and independent economists as well as business owners and citizens? That's a lousy way to make decisions they will affect the lives of millions.

To solve Philadelphia hunger crisis, focus on fighting poverty
December 13, 2017
The absolute worst response to this crisis is to blame the victims. While advocates of the city’s soda tax are mostly well-intentioned, this regressive tax not only adds to the already-strapped budgets of struggling families, but it also send the implicit message that the real problem is that low-income families just don’t shop responsibly enough.

Pa. Rep Wants To Preempt Philly's Sweetened Beverage Tax
December 6, 2017
A Pennsylvania Republican state representative on Wednesday announced plans to introduce legislation that would preempt Philadelphia's sweetened beverage tax, which went into effect in January and is being challenged in the state’s courts.

Philadelphia Sugar-Sweetened Tax Sours Business Leaders
December 4, 2017
As the first anniversary of Philadelphia’s excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages draws near, business leaders are criticizing the surcharge.

PRESS RELEASE: Chicago families and local businesses say good-bye to destructive beverage tax
December 1, 2017
Chicago-area families said good-bye to their destructive beverage tax today, when a repeal of the hated levy finally went into effect.

November 29, 2017
The October tax on sugar-sweetened drinks brought in less than any other month this year.

October brings in lowest monthly soda tax revenue since January
November 27, 2017
Monthly revenue collected by the city's beverage tax in October was the lowest amount since January, bringing in $6.1 million for Philadelphia's expanded preK, ReBuild and other programs, according to preliminary figures provided by the city.

PRESS RELEASE: Philadelphia beverage tax collections slump to lowest levels since January
November 27, 2017
The Ax the Philly Bev Tax Coalition has issued the following statement after beverage tax collections in October came in nearly 20 percent short of projections, dropping more than $1 million over the course of a month...

How one city’s soda tax disastrously backfired on businesses and poor people
November 24, 2017
The notion that raising the price of sugary or fatty foods will convince people to consume less of them, and hence reduce obesity rates, has exploded in popularity in recent years.

Philly should follow Cook County's lead in repealing beverage tax
November 20, 2017
On Oct. 11, the Cook County (Ill.) Board of Commissioners voted, 15-2, to repeal the county’s unfair, excessive, and overreaching penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax.

Business leaders press for repeal of Philadelphia's soda tax
November 13, 2017
Critics of Philadelphia’s tax on sweetened beverages remain hopeful that state legislation might soon repeal the city’s newest revenue generator in the wake of a state Senate hearing last month.

Philadelphia's soda tax hitting shoppers' wallets, not retailers' books: Study
November 3, 2017
Two new preliminary studies on the Philadelphia Beverage Tax show consumers are bearing the brunt of the 1.5 cents per ounce tax – as nearly the entire amount is getting passed through to shoppers at the register – while some of the findings indicate the city's retail sector has not been negatively impacted by the PBT despite business owners' claims otherwise.

Philly beverage tax hurting small-business owners and working-class communities
November 1, 2017
My family has owned the Southern Inn restaurant in Southwest Philadelphia for more than 30 years. I inherited it from my mother.

Trib editorial: Philly's fizzling soda tax
October 31, 2017
A recent Harrisburg hearing on Philadelphia's “soda tax” at least was held — unlike a June attempt at Philly's City Hall that ended after 45 minutes of soda-tax supporters' noisemaking. Unsurprisingly, this hearing confirmed what is patently an ill-advised tax.

Op-ed: Kenney’s soda tax is economically destructive
October 31, 2017
Mayor Jim Kenney is living a fantasy. His administration has repeatedly made the hollow argument that his regressive beverage tax isn’t hurting Philadelphia families.

Jeffery Brown Of ShopRite: Because Of Soda Tax 4 Of Our Stores Are Unprofitable
October 24, 2017
An owner of seven grocery stores in Philadelphia says the Soda Tax is making his stores unprofitable. “Out of our seven stores, four are unprofitable right now, and I have the burden of deciding if I can keep all these stores, How long can I go and absorb that loss,” Jeffrey Brown, owner and operator of Brown Super Stores, told The Rich Zeoli Show.

Letter to the Editor: Why Pennsylvania businesses deserve a tax cut
October 24, 2017
The negative impact of Philadelphia’s soda tax has taught our state a valuable lesson: High taxes are bad for business and bad for the economy.

PRESS RELEASE: Local Business and Labor Leaders to Call on City Council to follow Chicago area’s Lead and Repeal Destructive Beverage Tax
October 19, 2017
Speaking before Philadelphia City Council’s weekly session, local business and labor leaders called on councilmembers to follow the Cook County Board of Commissioners’ lead and repeal the regressive and economically destructive beverage tax.

Survey results show many Philly businesses hard hit by soda tax
October 17, 2017
More than half of the Philadelphia businesses that responded to a survey on the effects of the city's sugar-sweetened beverage tax say they've lost revenue as a direct result of the new tax.

Pa. Senators Hear Pros, Cons Of Philadelphia Beverage Tax
October 17, 2017
Members of a Pennsylvania Senate committee held a hearing Tuesday on Philadelphia’s controversial soda tax. The hearing, which was shut down by protesters in the city in June, was held instead in the State Capitol.

Businesses losing money to soda tax, controller says
October 16, 2017
Businesses that sell sweetened beverages say that Philadelphia’s soda tax has hurt their sales substantially, according to a survey that Controller Alan Butkovitz released Monday.

Butkovitz says city's Beverage Tax causing drastic revenue declines for retailers
October 16, 2017
Supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants and other retailers in the city are reporting a significant revenue hit in the first half of 2017 with the majority of survey respondents attributing the Philadelphia Beverage Tax as the culprit for "most or all of the decline," according to a new report from the City Controller's Office.

Soda tax hurting merchants, controller says
October 16, 2017
Many merchants in the city are showing losses as a result of the sweetened beverage tax implemented earlier this year, according to a survey that Controller Alan Butkovitz released on Monday.

Coalition calls for council to repeal city's beverage tax
October 13, 2017
A local coalition wants city council to repeal the city’s beverage tax.

The Axe the Philly Bev Tax Coalition of businesses and organizations is calling for action after the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted overwhelmingly this week to repeal a Chicago-area beverage tax that went into effect two months ago.

Officials vote to repeal Chicago's soda tax & Philadelphia reacts
October 11, 2017
After just a few months, Chicago and its surrounding county will no longer have a soda tax. The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to repeal the tax, confirming earlier reports that a deal had been reached to rescind it.

After Chicago repeals soda tax, Philly union urges Mayor Kenney to do the same
October 11, 2017
The repeal of a sweetened beverage tax in the Chicago area on Wednesday renewed calls for Philadelphia to end its own, more expensive tax.

PRESS RELEASE: Cook County Commissioners vote to repeal Chicago-area beverage tax
October 11, 2017
Following widespread voter and consumer outrage, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted overwhelmingly today to repeal a Chicago-area beverage tax that went into effect just two months ago.

PRESS RELEASE: Philadelphia closes summer nearly 15 percent short in beverage collections
September 28, 2017
Even the summer barbecue season wasn’t enough to salvage Philadelphia’s failing beverage tax. The city closed the summer season with August beverage tax revenues coming in nearly 15 percent short of projections – despite repeated promises by administration officials that beverage tax collections would improve.

Philly’s Soda Tax Continues To Lag Behind Expectations
September 28, 2017
Figures from August show revenue from Philadelphia’s beverage tax continues to lag behind expectations, but the mayor says he’s satisfied with the results so far.

Impact of the Beverage Tax on Philadelphia’s Grocery Stores
September 18, 2017
As Philadelphia’s fiscal watchdog, Controller Alan L. Butkovitz has made the impact of tax policy on the economic and fiscal health of the City a hallmark of his tenure in the office.

September 14, 2017
Philadelphia’s beverage tax is costing supermarkets $300,000 a month in lost sales as consumers head to retail locations outside of the city where the tax does not apply, reports the Philly Tribune.

Report: Soda tax pinching markets
September 12, 2017
Philadelphia’s new beverage tax is costing supermarkets $300,000 a month in lost sales as shoppers head to the suburbs, a new study conducted by a Saint Joseph’s University professor shows.

PRESS RELEASE: New study finds Philly beverage tax costing supermarkets more than $300,000 a month each
September 11, 2017
Philadelphia’s new beverage tax is crushing local Philadelphia supermarkets, costing them each more than $300,000 a month in lost sales as shoppers flee to the suburbs, a new study conducted by a Saint Joseph’s University professor shows.

Beverage Sales Fell in Philadelphia After Tax Took Hold
September 1, 2017
Data compiled for The Wall Street Journal show Philadelphia’s beverage tax had a significant impact on shopping patterns after it was introduced in January.

Controller counting chickens prematurely when it comes to soda tax
August 28, 2017
City Controller Alan Butkovitz has decided to count the chickens before they are hatched. Last week, Butkovitz announced that his office was going to do an audit on the city’s expanded pre-K program, even though the expansion has hardly begun. It started seven months ago.

Philadelphia Beverage Tax starts new fiscal year short of projections
August 28, 2017
The Philadelphia Beverage Tax yielded $6.5 million in the month of July – the first month of the 2018 fiscal year for the city, according to preliminary figures.

Philly’s Sweetened Beverage Tax Still Not Meeting Projections
August 26, 2017
Revenue from Philadelphia’s sweetened beverage tax continues to lag behind expectations. But city officials still say it’s not time to revise their projections.

Soda tax ‘killing’ corner stores that rely on summer sales
August 22, 2017
If anybody could see the divisive Philadelphia soda tax from both angles, it’s Beverly Diggins. She’s the general manager of Ms. Jessie’s Stop N Shop. She also has a master’s in education and has taught at Peirce College.

Philadelphia Learns That Soda Tax May Be A Bad Long-Term School Funding Solution
August 22, 2017
Here’s the problem with “sin” taxes, like those on alcohol, tobacco, and fizzy beverages: You can use those taxes to raise money for a specific purpose, or to encourage citizens to consume less of the thing being taxed, but you can’t hope for both. That’s what Philadelphia has learned as its tax on sweetened beverages has failed to raise as much money as the city hoped.

Marketing study: Philadelphia soda tax chasing away buyers
August 22, 2017
A marketing study says Philadelphia's 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and other sweetened drinks is chasing customers out of the city.

Philadelphia's soda tax isn't the windfall some had hoped for
August 22, 2017
Philadelphia's soda tax is falling flat — for the city, at least. The city started taxing sweetened drinks at 1.5 cents per ounce this year after a contentious debate.

Report: Soda tax decreased sales in Philly, boosted sales beyond border
August 21, 2017
Michael Solomon is a regular for hoagies at Bruno’s Pizza on Cheltenham Avenue. He also loves soda. But since Philadelphia’s tax on sweetened beverages went into effect, the 33-year-old West Oak Lane man has stopped buying soda with his sandwich. Instead he crosses the street and hits the Fresh Grocer, where he can get a two-liter bottle for as little as 88 cents, about a third what it costs in the city.

Soda taxes: Pitched as a solution, they only cause problems
August 16, 2017
Soda tax advocates promise healthier communities and balanced budgets. So far neither promise has materialized anywhere the tax has been imposed, but that isn't stopping more cities from using those dubious arguments to justify increasing taxes on their poorest citizens.

August 14, 2017
Philly mayor Jim Kenney’s soda tax, passed last year, has become a lightning rod for criticism locally and around the country, for the effect it has had on consumers and small business alike.

Philadelphia’s Soda Tax Bust
August 13, 2017
The best laid plans of politicians often go awry, and then there’s Philadelphia’s soda tax.

Philly moves the goalposts on soda tax
August 10, 2017
When you’re losing, it’s good advice to play another game. Or do as Philadelphia has done with its recent soda tax: Change the rules and move the goalposts. Though the soft-drink tax was pitched primarily as a boon for pre-K education and, secondarily, for its supposed health benefits, only 49 percent of the funding actually is slated for pre-K. Apparently, it’s not just “for the children.”

Disaster: Philly's Soda Tax Has Produced Miserable Results
August 10, 2017
Philadelphia’s city council had a revolutionary idea. Let’s tax the poor to increase revenue and the soda tax was born. After its implementation, you could have probably guessed the results: soda is now more expensive than beer.

Delaware County Wendy's Accidentally Charges Customers for Philly Soda Tax
August 8, 2017
Robert Marchetti assumed it was a mistake when the cashier quoted a higher price than normal for a soda he bought at a Wendy’s restaurant in Ridley Park, Delaware County Monday.

Study: Philadelphia tax makes soda more expensive than beer
August 8, 2017
Philadelphia's tax on sugary drinks has made soda more expensive than beer in the city.

Overbrook bakery closes, blames city soda tax
August 6, 2017
CC Orlando & Sons, which baked countless wedding and holy communion cakes and pastries since its founding on an Overbrook corner in 1948, closed after business Sunday.

Soda Tax Experiment Failing in Philadelphia Amid Consumer Angst and Revenue Shortfalls
August 3, 2017
The tax, which is 24 times the state excise tax rate on beer, has received mixed reviews among constituents. Some Philadelphians support the tax for the programs it funds. Meanwhile, local business owners and workers have filed lawsuits against the tax.

Six Months In, Philly Soda Tax Nets $39.3M, Just Shy of Projections
July 24, 2017
Philadelphia reached the six-month mark on its sweetened beverage tax in June, and the Philadelphia Department of Revenue has reported preliminary figures for the month, which closed out fiscal year 2017.

With June revenue in, Philadelphia's soda tax falls short of FY17 projection
July 24, 2017
Preliminary figures for fiscal year 2017 show the Philadelphia Beverage Tax came up just shy of the $39.7 million projected...

Opinion: No brotherly love in Philly’s soda tax
July 24, 2017
Hundreds of pro-tax protesters armed with earsplitting horns and loud chants created such a disturbance at a recent state Senate hearing on Philly’s soda tax that it had to be canceled. It was so loud that state Senator Scott Wagner couldn’t even announce that he was postponing the hearing. So much for a productive discussion.

Blatstein poised to cash in on Philly police HQ plan
July 14, 2017
Conversion of the Inquirer Building on North Broad Street into the Philadelphia Police Department’s new headquarters – stacking up to be the second most expensive historic-rehabilitation project of its kind in city history – comes with an extra bonus for the plan’s developer: a federal historic-renovation subsidy said to be worth $40 million.

Pro-beverage-tax forces are trying to silence critics
July 13, 2017
Recently, the newspapers have been up in arms over public policy being set without a public hearing. Those rotten Republicans deny the people a full discussion about changes in Obamacare. The Republicans say hearings took place for a year before the most recent bill was introduced in the Senate.

But, I’m not here to talk about the Republicans in Washington. I’m talking about the canceled hearing in City Hall regarding the sugary-beverage tax. I’m talking about the orchestrated obstruction of public debate involving pro-tax activists, special interest groups and some members of the mayor’s office.

State Sen. Anthony Williams: Beverage Tax Is ‘Regressive’
July 7, 2017
State Sen. Anthony Williams, who represents the 8th District in Philadelphia, talked with Dom Giordano on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT about the impact of the beverage tax, saying the city wasted a chance to secure funding for essential programs.

Michael Bloomberg's nanny crusade will make people poorer
June 30, 2017
There is no other public figure who has so readily assumed the role of "ultimate nanny" than Bloomberg. He's shown himself as a crusader prepared to use the force of government to raise taxes and prices on products he deems unhealthy and even dangerous. If only to save the people from themselves.

Wagner: Political discourse sinks to new low at Philly hearing
June 29, 2017
On June 23, the Senate Local Government Committee, which I chair, was scheduled to host a bipartisan public hearing to examine the pros and cons of the recently enacted Philadelphia Beverage Tax at the request of Senator Anthony Williams – a Democrat who represents part of Philadelphia.

Fizzing Out Philly Soda Tax Actually Affecting Delco
June 28, 2017
While the controversial “soda tax” passed by Philadelphia City Council continues sparking heated debates there, Delaware County residents are lesser known casualties of the landmark legislation because we’re paying more for fizzy, sugary drinks, too.

Soda tax is tanking. What comes next?
June 17, 2017
While the city government was preening over its victories in court, its tax on soda (actually about 4,000 beverages) is losing in the court of public consumption.

Workers feeling soda-tax pain
June 15, 2017
Had Inquirer business reporter Joseph N. DiStefano interviewed me for his story about Philadelphia’s reviled beverage tax (“So far, tax is OK,” Tuesday), he would have learned that the job loss carnage I predicted long ago has hit my union with a vengeance — 155 of my hard-working members of Teamsters Local 830 have been laid off as a result of tanking sales of beverages in the city due to this onerous tax. That’s 155 Philadelphia families who are now struggling to make ends meet.

Press Release: Anti-Tax Coalition responds to Commonwealth Court ruling on Philadelphia Beverage Tax
June 14, 2017
We are deeply disappointed in today’s ruling. But no ruling can obscure the pain Philadelphia’s beverage tax continues to inflict on families and local businesses.

Philly’s Soda Tax Is Shaping Up to Be an Epic Flop
June 13, 2017
It’s been six months since the city’s soda tax (or, more accurately, the sugary beverage tax) was implemented — and it’s off to a rocky start.

Philly: Soda tax revenue to fall short
June 13, 2017
The city will lower its projections for beverage tax revenue this fiscal year, saying the tax will bring in less than had been anticipated.

City controller: Soda tax shortfalls 'creating a multi-million dollar burden' on Philadelphia
June 13, 2017
An alarming pattern of early revenue shortfalls from Philadelphia's sugar-sweetened beverage tax could be "creating a multi-million dollar burden," outgoing city controller Alan Butkovitz wrote Tuesday in a letter to finance director Rob Dubow.

Press Release: Kenney administration slashes beverage tax collection projections
June 13, 2017
Dave McCorkle, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, has issued the following statement in response to news that the Kenney administration is preparing to slash its beverage revenue tax collection projections...

Philly admits it will earn less money from the soda tax than it planned
June 13, 2017
Philadelphia’s sugar-sweetened beverage tax isn’t going as well as the city planned. With a few weeks left in the current fiscal year and Philadelphia unlikely to hit its $46M soda tax goal, Philadelphia is lowering its revenue projection for the tax.

EXCLUSIVE: Teamsters 830 leader says 155 laid off thanks to Phila. Beverage Tax
June 12, 2017
It’s no surprise to Teamsters Local 830 or our colleagues in the beverage industry that revenue generated by Philadelphia’s reviled beverage tax has been much less than the city projected. We predicted it.

Are Soda Taxes Worth Their Cost?
June 2, 2017
Philadelphia’s soda tax is going flat. The new levy has raised prices, diminished sales, and led to industry layoffs. It’s also failing to meet revenue projections, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

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