❝ Forty times, city or state governments had proposed taxes on sugary soft drinks, failing each time. Then, in 2014, liberal Berkeley, Calif., passed such a tax, but most people saw it as an aberration. Several measures, including one in New York, never won much support.
But…a measure to tax sweetened drinks passed in Philadelphia, one of the country’s largest cities — and also one of its poorest. Indeed, raising revenue was the winning argument in Philadelphia.
❝ Jim Kenney, the mayor, took a different tack from that of politicians who have tried and failed to pass sugary-drink taxes. He didn’t talk about the tax as a nanny-state measure designed to discourage sugar-saturated soft drinks. And he didn’t promise to earmark the proceeds for health programs. Instead, he cast the soft drink industry as a tantalizing revenue source that could be tapped to fund popular city programs, including universal prekindergarten…
The advocates who have pushed for the policy say the victory is a sign of growing public acceptance of soft drink taxes and presages more such measures around the country. Though city officials didn’t talk much about the health consequences of soda, experts said that sugary drinks’ increasingly bad reputation made it an appropriate political target.
Perish the thought Americans should support measures for better health. Mexico City succeeded recently using exactly that approach. Over a year later, purchases of sugary drinks are down 12% – and the tax wasn’t especially high.
Whatever. Good news is good news even when it’s subtle.