By Alex Lloyd Gross
Yesterday, April 18, 2017, Philadelphia city officials were quick to bring out a public study about the “sweetened beverage tax” in Berkeley California. The study, by the Public Health Institute and the University of North Carolina were quick to find that this tax had health benefits, that sales of soda fell 9.6 % in the one year since it was implemented. People are buying more bottled water and there has been no increase in grocery bills in Berkeley. According to this report, the tax is not passed onto the consumer in all instances.
In Philadelphia, it is a different story. The tax is being passed to the consumer. In just about all instances. The tax 1.5 cents per ounce is being applied to grocery bills and that impacts people. Just last month, close to 400 people lost their jobs, working for Pepsi and Browns Supermarkets in Philadelphia. People are going to the suburbs and out of town locations not only to buy their soda, but for their entire food order.
Philadelphia is 3000 miles away from Berkeley. The beverage tax there is different than here. The attitudes of people are different as well. In fact, you can find different mindsets across the state. The health benefits not withstanding. The Philadelphia Soda tax is the most controversial item ever put out and many people are saying it will be the deciding factor in who is the next Mayor in Philadelphia.
A quick call to a Shopright, in Berkeley, confirmed what the study said, A man who identified himself as Manny , said that soda sales have not fallen off. It’;s quite the opposite in Philadelphia,. Suburban stores have watched their sales double. While the city claims it has no money for Pre K , it is planning ambitious construction projects to build it’s infrastructure. Cake, candy, remain untaxed. Even sugar remains untaxed. Currently, the city is engaged in a protracted expensive legal battle with the American Beverage Association over this tax.