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The Push to Abolish Soda Tax in PA

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We have covered the “soda tax” debate in cities like Philadelphia and Chicago as well as others around the country, especially over the past year.  These taxes have attempted to curtail the consumption of soda and other sugary drinks in an effort to also raise revenue for various programs in the cities that have imposed them.

But now it seems that those in Philadelphia that are opposed to the tax have something to cheer for as the current push to abolish the tax has cleared an important hurdle. On Tuesday May 1, 2018, the Pennsylvania House Commerce Committee approved passage of a bill that would kill the sweetened beverage tax. By way of background, the tax was originally imposed to encourage healthier food choices while at the same time generating additional revenue from the tax to support parks and other recreational, family-focused initiatives in the city. 

From its inception, the tax faced an uphill battle as grocery owners and those in the beverage/soda sector raised the alarm that local customers were changing their purchasing habits and driving out of town to obtain the sweetened beverages.  Worries over maintaining jobs and sustaining economic competitiveness helped to fuel the desire to eliminate the tax.

The next step will take place on May 15 when the PA Supreme Court rules on the legality of the tax.

Sobel & Co. will keep you updated as this story progresses.

Chris Martin, CPA
Sobel & Co.