Philadelphians will soon be paying extra on some of their sweeter drinks after Philadelphia just became the first major U.S. city to successfully pass a soda tax.
The Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax, as it’s officially named, will be 1.5 cents per ounce and taxes items including non-100% fruit drinks, flavored water, pre-sweetened tea or coffee, non-alcoholic beverages that are intended as mixers for alcoholic drinks and flavored water. Philly.com reported that the tax is expected to add up to 18 cents to the cost of a 12-ounce can, $1 to a 1-liter bottle and about $2.16 to the cost of a 12-pack.
Exceptions to the law will include baby formula and products more than 50 percent fruit or vegetable juice.
The passing of the tax follows months of controversy. While the tax passed with a 13-4 vote and was supported by Philadelphia mayor, Jim Kenney, the vote followed a multi million dollar opposition campaign by the beverage industry. Following the vote, the American Beverage released a statement saying it will seek legal action to stop the law, saying it “unfairly singles out beverages,” and calling taxes of this kind “discriminatory and highly unpopular.”
Kenney was able to sell the idea of the tax with the plan to use the expected $90 million to support pre-kindergarten, community schools and recreation centers.
Berkeley, California previously passed a similar tax, but no major U.S. city has been able to pass such a tax. Other major cities who tried in the past to pass similar soda taxes include New York and San Francisco.
With the tax set to go into effect on January 1 maybe it will give Philadelphians the incentive they need to follow through on their New Year’s Resolutions to kick soda.