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Philly Soda Tax: Still Looming Despite Second Cancelation

by Bethaney Wallace on Jun 28, 2012

For the past two years, Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter, has pitched a soda tax for the city. Slated at two cents per ounce, the bill has twice been cut down by councilmen and women, stating unhappy citizens, among other reasons. But just as any superstitious person would have you believe, the third time just may be a charm. While Nutter has yet to state whether or not he’ll be introducing the bill for a third time, the population of Philly has been in an uproar of speculation. Meetings have been held, protesting events pre-planned, and politicians ensuring that no final decision has yet been made.

One of the main causes for concern was the mayor’s recent “no new taxes” speech, which didn’t eliminate the already proposed soda tax. Reporters and citizens alike said the mayor carefully chose his words, leaving the soda tax still in the mix with his current tax definitions.

If implemented, the added fee would go straight into the city’s pocket, raising more than $60 million for public school districts in one year alone. The extra cash would also help to eliminate budget cuts, and keep taxes from being raised. While plenty voiced their unhappiness for the tax, councilpersons were quick to explain the necessity behind it. Because the city cannot afford to make various budget cuts – having made drastic ones already – the proposed tax would create funds without sending the city of Philadelphia into a deficit.

Those who oppose the tax say they would travel outside city limits to purchase sodas. While the trip would arguably cost much more in fuel and traveling fees, it was about principle rather than money, they said. Some even went as far as to create a protest parade in 2011 when the soda tax was proposed for a second time.

The city’s soda fees are still up in the air; only the year’s fiscal budget and adjusted taxes will show definitive plans either way.

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