America has a long history of seeing sin taxes result in unintended consequences well beyond initial fears and – in the case of alcohol at least – of epic negative consequences. Over the years we have grown so accustomed to new taxes being levied, willy-nilly, that we have become numb.
The soda tax in Philadelphia was sold to the residence there as a way to discourage people from what legislators considered bad behavior in the name of trying to make rank-and-file citizens take better care of themselves and lose weight. If you are just cynical enough, however, you understand that these types of taxes are nothing more than a revenue-generating money grab veiled under the cloak of our political Heroes pretending to care about our health.
News Out of Philly after nearly 6 months of their soda tax SHOULD have been about just how much collective weight City residents have lost, or even how many fewer cavities people have. Instead, the news reads like a shareholder’s report:
Preliminary figures for fiscal year 2017 show the Philadelphia Beverage Tax came up just shy of the $39.7 million projected – with June, the final month of FY17, bringing in the second highest amount of revenue since the tax went into effect in January.
City officials told the Philadelphia Business Journal Friday that preliminary PBT revenue for June was $6.9 million. That means, combined with the prior months’ revenue, PBT generated $39.3 million in its first six months, or the second half of FY17.
It’s not much of a stretch to presume that city managers – while celebrating their near-successes – will begin to look at ever-new and more creative ways to double down on efforts to encourage more people to buy soda so they can improve their bottom line despite the fact that the health implications for rank-and-file Philadelphians will only be made worse by the money grab rather than better… as was originally promised when this law was dreamt up in the first place.NewsWorks & Philadelphia Business Journal]