A little more than two months has passed since Philadelphia’s 1.5 cent per ounce tax on beverages took effect and Mayor Kenney and Philadelphians are getting a crash course in economics 101. The tax has Philadelphians paying $3 in tax on a 12-pack of beverages that cost $5.99, directly affecting businesses and low- and middle-income families.
A Washington Times editorial explains how a discriminatory tax on a common grocery item like beverages hurt jobs and the economy.
“Our worst fears have been realized,” Daniel Grace, an officer of Teamsters Local 830 told Washington Times. “I hope they can live with themselves after knowing that their actions led to the devastation of an industry in the city and the loss of so many family-sustaining jobs.”
The editorial also points out a basic economic fact – the demand for beverages is elastic so consumers have other options for buying beverages. In Philadelphia, residents just need to go to locations outside of the city to escape the tax.
“Many Philadelphia shoppers who go beyond the city limits to buy soda pop are, since they’re already there, buying their groceries there, too,” the Times said.
That means small businesses are hit twice by the beverage tax – they are losing revenue from the drop of beverage sales as well as losing money on other grocery items. No matter how you look at it the tax is regressive and harmful to the local economy.