Ax the Bev Tax

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Philadelphia beverage tax?
The City of Philadelphia imposed a 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax on more than 4,000 beverages. This tax went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The tax amount is reflected on some receipts under the name “Philly Bev Tax.” Other stores have increased prices of other goods to cover the cost of the new beverage tax.
Why is now the time to repeal Philadelphia’s beverage tax?
Philadelphia’s beverage tax was bad public policy from the start. And now we know it was created for political revenge and designed to put people out of work. This news is disappointing but sadly not surprising. Philadelphians deserve more from their elected officials. Now, a grocery store in West Philadelphia will shut its doors. Working families and small businesses have been economically hurt by this political turf war. They have been disproportionately impacted by the tax and the revenue is not being used the way Mayor Kenney promised. Most of the money is sitting in the city’s general fund. This tax should be repealed now so we can avoid further casualties to small businesses and jobs, and to shoppers who cannot afford the high prices caused by the Mayor’s tax.
How does Philadelphia’s beverage tax impact me?
This tax hurts Philadelphians who can least afford it, including working families and local businesses. Working families are increasingly struggling to make ends meet—they cannot afford to continue to pay more than their fair share. The shockingly high prices on beverages have caused a decrease in sales as shoppers travel outside city limits to buy their soda, juices, teas and sports drinks — taking their business away from Philadelphia’s local stores.
How is the Philadelphia beverage tax harming local businesses and their communities?
At 1.5 cents per ounce, the beverage tax has doubled the price on common grocery items like family-sized iced teas. To avoid paying the tax, many families go outside the city and while there shop for all their groceries, not just for their beverages. A local ShopRite store lost about a quarter of its total sales or $1 million a year – an unsustainable loss for a small business owner who operates on thin profit margins of only 1 or 2 percent. Once the West Philadelphia ShopRite closes in March, its community will become a food desert, with no easy access to fresh groceries.
Wasn’t this tax intended to fund important programs? What will happen to these initiatives if the beverage tax is repealed?
Instead of a regressive tax that disproportionately impacts working families and small businesses, the city should turn to existing revenue sources. Mayor Kenney ran on a platform of cutting wasteful spending that he said could save taxpayers $90 million a year. Instead, the city budget has also grown by $600 million since he assumed office. The city also has a surplus of $368.7 million, which can be dedicated to funding current programs and more.
What can I do to help repeal the Philadelphia beverage tax?
Contact your local city councilmember and tell them to REPEAL THE BEVERAGE TAX! Find your representative at phlcouncil.com/council-members/.

Send a Letter

Write to your City Council Member and urge them to repeal the beverage tax.

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