Soda tax passes in Philadelphia — Who’s next in line?

sugary drinks

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.

One thought on “Soda tax passes in Philadelphia — Who’s next in line?

  1. Real Thing © says:

    “With less than two weeks until election day in the US, the money being used to support or destroy four soda-tax measures is really piling up.
    So far this year, finance disclosures show the soda industry has unloaded more than $25 million in Boulder, Colorado; San Francisco; Oakland; and Albany, California. For giant soda companies, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsico, defeating these tax measures is a symbolic crusade to protect themselves from befalling a similar fate as tobacco. Indeed, as controversies around the impact of sugar and obesity on the health of Americans has increased, food companies have faced mounting pressure to change their products and the ways they are marketed.
    As Nov. 8 draws closer, the battle over soda taxes has largely become a rough-and-tumble fight between the industry and three US billionaires: former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Houston philanthropists Laura and John Arnold, who amassed much of their fortune from the energy industry.” (see links)

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