The city of Philadelphia is nothing if not consistent. They passed a sugary drink tax. But it also includes artificial sweeteners so you get taxed on your Diet Coke. As a result, the city is collecting less taxes and people are losing their jobs because of it. Philly residents can merely cross the Ben Franklin Bridge into NJ and fill up with cheap gas and load the car with cheap soda.
Soda distributors are laying off 20% of their workers because of decreased sales and stores are laying off employees to make up for their declining sales also. The city which planned to use the added money to finance failed preschool classes are actually taking in less revenue than before. If two Poland Springs trucks were to collide, Philadelphia could be thrown into a drought.
Of course, the mayor says it’s not his policy to blame, it’s the greedy soda companies who have the audacity to pass on the tax rather than drastically cut their earnings. Liberal logic is an oxymoron.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait, you can’t stop people from drinking sodas and also reap huge tax receipts on the sales of soda at the same time,” then you’re at least two steps ahead of the City of Philadelphia, and you probably know by now where the rest of this story is going, too.
But it gets worse: private individuals and businesses are also being harmed. Via Reason:
One of the city’s largest beverage distributors is planning to cut 20 percent of its workforce, Philly.com reports, and grocery stores across the city are also planning to shed jobs to make up for declining sales. It appears that the tax is causing some shoppers to drive beyond the city’s borders in order to do their grocery shopping (who could have seen that coming, right?).
“In 30 years of business, there’s never been a circumstance in which we’ve ever had a sales decline of any significant amount,” Jeff Brown, chief executive officer of Brown’s Super Stores, told Bloomberg. “I would describe the impact as nothing less than devastating.”
The Mayor of Philadelphia, meanwhile, refuses to accept that any portion of the blame for these economic effects — effects which disproportionately impact low-income families in Philadelphia — belongs at City Hall’s doorstep. Instead, he blames… the greedy soda industry:
“I didn’t think it was possible for the soda industry to be any greedier,” Kenney said in an emailed statement to Philly.com reporter Julia Terruso. “They are so committed to stopping this tax from spreading to other cities, that they are not only passing the tax they should be paying onto their customer, they are actually willing to threaten working men and women’s jobs rather than marginally reduce their seven figure bonuses.”