By Alex Lloyd Gross
The Soda Tax, is being hailed as discriminatory, and documented proof has been released this week that confirms it is hurting city businesses. Not all businesses, just those located in low income areas. In a report issued by City Controller Alan Butkovitz . You can read that report for yourself here. The soda tax was rammed through city council .and enacted by law Jan 12017. since then, this newspaper as well as many others have said that this tax will hurt business and cause people to go out of the city for their soft drink purchases. Those reports were validated this week by Controller Butkovitz during his report.
The end result of that, is merchants who are losing business and have to lay off people or close up shop. We are not talking about $7.25 and hour kids but rather people working to support their families. Drivers, stokers and sales reps have been fired. Actually, the word fired leaves a bad taste in peoples mouths. They were laid off. That so the company can survive. “This is wrong, the city could get that money by not enacting the wage tax cuts that they were not going to do anyway”, Butkovitz said.
The Soda Tax, is so un popular that It can in and of itself, be a force multiplier during the next election. A candidate could win almost on that issue alone. So if the next mayor wants to repeal it, can he? “You have to go through city council to do that .and I believe that should someone get in, council will be happy to repeal this, it’s wrong”, Butkovitz said. In this article we predicted that people would smuggle soda into the city and sell it. It’s now a reality. While no one has been arrested, people are doing it. .”They bring soda from outside the city with them to eat in restaurants!” Butkowvitz exclaimed. “It’s the only way they can keep customers”, he added.
With double digit losses all around the city, not everyone has noticed any decrease.The center city area is not experiencing any loss of business, according to the report. Butkovitz attributes this to the fact that the income is so high there , people don’t care about paying it and the other is the large influx of tourists who are unaware of the tax . During a recent visit to the Reading Terminal, just about every merchant there has experienced some loss in business from this tax, quite a few of people bring their own drinks or opt not to buy soda.
“To tout the health issue is bod, it’s like telling people they are not smart enough to know what is good for them”, Butkovitz said. Is Butkovitz running for mayor? “No, not at this time” he laughed. The election is still about two years away. Maybe he will run then.