Appeals Court Upholds Philadelphia’s Tax On Sweetened Drinks

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The city of Philadelphia has won a significant victory in Commonwealth Court. Judges have upheld the Common Pleas Court ruling that the sweetened beverage tax is legal.

It will likely have one final hurdle to clear.

Five of the seven judges who heard the appeal agreed with the city’s argument that the tax does not duplicate any state tax or violate the uniformity clause by charging one-and-a-half cents per ounce, rather than by the bottle or can.

Philly Beverage Tax Revenue Draws Warning, Kenney Administration Remains Confident 

In a statement, Mayor Jim Kenney urged the beverage industry to, “cease the legal and public relations battle to which it has devoted millions.”

Children, he says, are waiting for the opportunities the tax provides, that is, expanded pre-K, community schools, and public facility renovations.

Attorney Mark Aronchick, who argued the case for the city, says, with two ruling against them… “they really should recognize legal reality.”

The beverage industry said in a statement it was disappointed in the ruling. It didn’t mention an appeal but it is expected to take the case to the state Supreme Court.

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