PHILADELPHIA — Less than three months into Philadelphia’s new tax on sweetened drinks, the stakes have escalated: Beverage makers say the measure is hurting sales so much they need to cut jobs, while city officials say the moves are a ploy to get the tax struck down.
Some supermarkets opposed to the tax are making a statement by printing out the added cost on receipts and store shelves. The tax began Jan. 1 and is levied on transactions between drink distributors and retailers, but many grocers are passing it on to drinks amid an “Ax the Bev Tax” campaign to kill the measure in court or through repeal. One widely shared photo on social media shows a receipt for a 12-pack of 16.9-ounce bottles of Propel Water, which is artificially sweetened. The receipt says the drinks cost $5.99, and the tax adds $3.04.
IGA supermarket has hung signs near affected drinks that say “Philadelphia Sugar Tax Item,” with the price of a 2-liter of Coke going from $1.99 to $3.