City soda tax cash is way under predictions

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo Delaware Valley A photo of the soda aisle inside a suburban store. Soda is sold quicker than shelves can be stocked.

By Alex Lloyd Gross

What do you do when you predict an outcome and parameters change?  You alter the predictions, and that is what Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney has done with the Beverage Tax.  Just this month, the State Supreme Court ruled that the tax stood on solid ground, from a legal perspective. That, after Federal Judge Gary Glazer issued a slap-dash ruling in favor of the city.

Remember, in February, when the city issued projections that the soda tax revenue was way ahead of schedule?  Multiple people, including this newspaper advised that cash raised was based on projections predicated on past sales. Those sales were flat and off dramatically and will in no way come close to the $96 million dollars per year needed by the city  Kenney has shrugged off any criticism of this tax as saying that people who do not support it “Do not support children”.  Most of the money raised by the tax does not go to support children,  but rather a city general fund, it was learned.

In the six months since it’s inception,  almost 500 Philadelphia workers have lost their jobs when delivery routes were no longer needed for trucks or stores were not making their projections in the city. Some stores may have to close within two years, taking even more jobs with them. Not everything is bad concerning this tax. In suburban Philadelphia, stores have watched their sales soar, as city residents and their friends and family purchase  entire soda and grocery orders.  The tax has also pushed people to keep soda with them in their vehicles and consume it with their meals inside the city. you read that correct.  People are going to restaurants, ordering food and providing their own beverage.

The next council race and mayoral election will feature the soda tax and that issue could be the deciding factor in who gets elected.

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