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Under soda tax, beverage sales at chain stores in Philly dropped 51%, new study finds

Laura McCrystal, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

City Council voted in March to commission its own study of the tax's impact. Any study is unlikely, however, to resolve the debate between supporters and opponents of the tax about its impact on jobs in the city.

The beverage industry said the new study is more evidence that the tax is hurting businesses and causing job losses. The industry has highlighted layoffs by PepsiCo and Coca-Cola Co. after the tax went into effect, as well as work-hour reductions for employees at some supermarkets and the closing of a ShopRite in Overbrook as evidence that the tax is hurting residents and businesses.

The Kenney administration, meanwhile, noted that the study does not make any conclusions about jobs or store profitability. Dunn also pointed to strong wage-tax collections from retailers in the city, a study that looked at unemployment collections in industries affected by the tax, and the opening of new grocery stores in the city as evidence to counter the industry's claims.

Roberto, the lead author, said her main takeaway is that soda taxes are effective at reducing consumption.

"It's a public health no-brainer," she said.



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