Philadelphia Sees Downturn In Beverage Tax Receipts

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Receipts from Philadelphia’s sweetened beverage tax were down in April.

The tax brought in $6.5 million in April, the first decline in revenue since the city began collecting it in January. A city spokesman says it’s no cause for concern, just an off-month, the kind of fluctuation that’s normal for a new tax. But Anthony Campisi of the Beverage Industry coalition, Ax the Tax, sees it as ominous.

“It’s not providing the stable source of revenue the mayor claims the city needs,” he said.

The city has projected that the one-and-a-half cent an ounce tax will bring in $91 million a year, money earmarked for expanded pre-K, community schools and a rebuild of city parks, rec centers and libraries, all aimed at reducing the city’s 26 percent poverty rate.

For the first four months, the tax has brought in $25.6 million but distributors complain it has hurt sales, and, in turn, caused job loss.

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