The Philadelphia City Council Committee of the Whole has backed a
1.5 cents per-ounce tax on sugar-added and artificially sweetened soft
drinks, a measure that the council anticipates will raise $91 million over
the next year. If approved by final vote as expected, the tax will “fund
quality pre-K expansion, community schools, reinvestment in parks and
recreation centers, and help pad the City’s General Fund,” according to a
June 8, 2016, press release.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) initially proposed a 3-cents-per-ounce
levy on sugar-sweetened beverages, but the council concluded that
such an increase would raise more revenue than needed. Instead, the
committee opted to reduce the tax to 1.5 cents per ounce while expanding
the scope to include diet soft drinks. The council also advanced a bill
“offering tax credits to merchants that opt to sell healthy beverages in
their stores.”

“A 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax increase on soft drinks will have a smaller
negative impact on businesses and consumers; be more widely spread
among consumers at both ends of the income spectrum; raise the funds
necessary to make historic reinvestments in our young people and public
spaces; and protect the City from uncertainty by increasing the General
Fund balance,” said Third District Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. See
The New York Times and NPR, June 9, 2016.

 

Issue 607

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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