By Alex Lloyd Gross
Yes, you read the headline right. Starting this spring, Pepsi will no longer be supplying grocery stores in Philadelphia with 2-Liter bottles of soda and multi packs of cans.. They just are not selling in the city. That includes products bottled by Pepsi as well, such as Mountain Dew. However, Coke and Canada Dry will continue to supply stores…for now. The reason given was the beverage tax. What cost $1.00 now costs over $2.00, due to this tax.
The tax, many are calling discriminatory and regressive is also directly responsible for costing over 500 jobs in the city. About 100 workers at the Pepsi plant in Northeast Philadelphia were laid off and 400 workers at Brown,s Supermarkets in Philadelphia will lose their jobs by the end of the month. Not $8.00 per hour employees, but good paying jobs, it’s needed to slash payroll, as people are traveling outside of the city to buy their entire grocery order.
Mayor Kenney will still tout the tax as a success, and has dismissed claims of lost jobs as a “political ploy” by the Beverage Association. He has claimed that a drop in consumer buying is being blamed on the tax, and everything bad that happens is being blamed on the tax. He points to the money spent by the Beverage Association in legal fees, as money that could be kept for jobs. The city will spend nearly $2,000,000 on legal fees. Critics argue that that money could be spend on Pre-K.
Kenney originally said that the money, $91, Million Dollars will help Pre K. The city is falling well short of that and now it was learned that only a small fraction is going to Pre-K. The decision will be in Federal Court later this year. The mayor used first month inventory figures to tout his claims.
People in the poorest neighborhoods are stuck and are not able to get out of the city. Many call that discrimination. What is true is that stores are no longer able to compete with suburban stores that will still sell 2 liter soda, without the tax. Multiple visits to stores just outside the city will show those businesses thriving, with customers leaving with full carts of food and soda. These people doing the buying are , for the most part, new customers to that store. They are city residents. For parties and back yard barbecue, the 2 liter is the most popular product there is.