This past Thursday, Philadelphia city Council, under the prodding of its mayor James Kenney, imposed a 1.5 sent tax per ounce of “sugary” soft drinks. The idea is to prevent obesity. Of course, this will prove to be totally useless for several reasons.
First, even though the beverage industry is fighting these taxes, the truth is no one could be happier than the beverage industry. It is much more expensive to make a soft drink with sugar or high fructose corn syrup than with NutraSweet or any other varieties of artificial sweeteners. Even though study after study has shown that people who drink “diet” drinks do not lose any weight and fact may have a tendency to gain weight, the beverage industry pushes diet soda to make more profit.
Now, Philadelphia, like some other big cities, has decided to play right into the hands of the beverage industry. More people will choose to save the tax (on a 20 ounce soda it is $.30) and start to drink diet sodas. The beverage industry will make more profit, no weight will be lost, and for those people that are stuck buying regular soda they are forced to pay the tax, Philadelphia found a sneaky way to collect more taxes.
For those people that really want to drink soda, this will encourage people in Philadelphia to just drive over the bridge and do more shopping in New Jersey (where there is a tax on carbonated beverages, but not noncarbonated beverages and other foods), Delaware (where there is no sales tax) or just simply go over the border into the neighboring communities in Pennsylvania.
Once again, this is another political attempt to to pretend that politicians are doing a good law, when in fact they are just simply raising taxes. This is really a dumb idea!