Dear Members of the Philadelphia City Council:
On behalf of National Taxpayers Union’s (NTU) Philadelphia members, I urge you to reject the soda tax introduced by Mayor Kenney. Philadelphia’s poverty rate of 26 percent is among the highest in the nation and the proposed tax increase would nearly double the cost of a six pack of soda, serving as a regressive tax for the city’s poorest residents. Likewise, the tax would negatively impact small retailers, bottlers and restaurants.
The people of Philadelphia are already overburdened by taxes; the non-partisan Tax Foundation has found that Pennsylvania has the 15th highest state tax burden. These taxes are particularly onerous for those at or near the poverty level. A 2015 study of the largest cities in each state found that Philadelphia had the nation’s highest tax levy for those making $25,000 a year.
The “soda tax” is not simply a tax on soda, but extends to fruit juices, energy drinks and sport drinks. While some might claim this policy would help improve public health, it should be noted that other common sources of sugar, such as ice cream and cookies, would not be taxed.
Securing more funding for Philadelphia’s public schools is a noble objective, but it should not be achieved by raising taxes on those least able to afford them. NTU strongly encourages you to reject the soda tax.
Counsel and Government Affairs Manager