Philly Soda Tax Approved by City Council Committee

PHILADELPHIA, PA - The controversial Philadelphia soda tax is one step closer to getting passed, but the new measure could add a “Big Gulp” of cash to the city’s budget.

The latest decision from city council will put a one-and-a-half cent, per ounce, tax on surgery drinks.

For example, a 20-ounce soda, anywhere in the city, would be 30 cents more expensive; a 2-liter would cost about $1.02 more.

City officials say the soda tax would bring in an additional $91 million in tax revenue over the next year.

Officials say this would be used to fund the city’s education programs including an expanded pre-kindergarten. It would also pay for park improvements along with some of the money going towards the city’s general fund.

The American Beverage Association has been lobbying against the tax and funded a coalition called the “No Philly Grocery Tax.” Other local, small convenience store owners say this will hurt their business.

A final vote on the tax is expected next Thursday, which is the deadline for adopting next year’s fiscal budget.

San Francisco and New York City have tried to pass similar legislation unsuccessfully.