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Business Politics

Not National News: Philly’s Once Heralded ‘Soda Tax’ Has Been a Spectacular Failure

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The national press could barely hide its glee in June 2016 when Philadelphia passed a “soda tax” of 1.5 cents per ounce levied against non-alcoholic beverages containing “any form of artificial sugar substitute, including stevia, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), saccharin, and advantame.”

Now that the predictions of opponents have virtually all come to pass, accompanied by unintended consequences even they didn’t anticipate, the national press is barely interested.

Coverage at the New York Times when the soda tax passed 14 months ago carried a video where the head of Healthy Food America, whose self-admitted primary reason for being is to advocate for the passage of “taxes on sugary drinks” throughout the land, described the tax as “a historic moment for public health.” Times reporter Margot Sanger-Katz virtually celebrated Mayor Jim Kenney’s underhanded passage strategy, admiring how “he cast the soft drink industry as a tantalizing revenue source that could be tapped to fund popular city programs, including universal prekindergarten.”

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