Turning great ideas into healthier communities


PHI Statement on the Passage of Philadelphia SSB Tax

June 16, 2016


The Public Health Institute enthusiastically congratulates the city of Philadelphia for its hard-fought but ultimately winning effort to pass a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. The city will impose a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as diet beverages, and use the funds to expand pre-kindergarten and improve parks, recreation centers, and libraries.

Mayor Kenney spearheaded the fee passage, and though the final language was a step back from his original proposal of 3 cents an ounce only on sugary drinks, it is strong and effective legislation that will funnel profits from big soda into initiatives that build health and opportunity.

The success of Philadelphia’s effort is another win for the little guy, in an ongoing David-and-Goliath fight that is proving that science and common sense can beat the big bucks, media blitz and lobbying efforts of soda companies—which spent close to 3 million dollars trying to sway the votes of just 17 Philadelphia council members. Philly’s new law follows Berkeley’s successful tax, and will likely be joined by a coalition of California communities fighting to pass their own taxes, including Oakland, San Francisco and Albany.

The tide is turning in the battle to hold beverage companies accountable for the damage their products inflict.

Help spread the word with a tweet: Philly #SodaTax win shows science & common sense can beat #BigSoda's big bucks & lobbying, says @PHIdotorg: http://bit.ly/1twjEqE