By Anita Oh
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some customers are already feeling the impact of Philadelphia’s Sugary Drink Tax just a day after it took effect. And the new hike has hit a sour note with many of them.
“A lot of people are upset,” explained Renee Williams. “I did hear some guys talking about an 88 cent drink that would normally cost just 88 cents — but with the tax it was $1.36.
Even vending machine prices have been updated, with signs explaining the updated costs are due to the tax. One machine that used to charge $1.50 for a bottle of soda now charges $2.00.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” another woman told CBS3.
Philadelphia is the first major US city to pass the controversial sugary drink tax which adds an additional tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on most drinks with sugar or an artificial sweetener such as Coca-Cola, Gatorade and iced tea.
The tax, considered a “big win” for Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, is expected to bring in more than $90 million in revenue to help fund universal pre-k programs and other city improvements. The tax is levied on distributors but the effect is trickling down to customers and for some like Renee Williams, the Sugary Drink Tax is not all that sweet.
“They could’ve found a better way to find money to fund the schools,”Williams argued. “I don’t think the beverage tax will help at all.”
Williams showed CBS3 her receipt where her $1.00 iced tea was nearly doubled in price thanks to a $.96 charge for the tax.
Others say they don’t mind paying a little more for the right reasons.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Tony Wall. “Going to the schools, helping kids — that’s a worthy cause.”
“It would make me think maybe I don’t need to get an over-sized drink — not a bad idea,” said Jack Shanley. “Not the worst tax.”
And there could be other benefits too.
“I think it will help with the obesity fight cause people don’t want to pay all that money for beverages,” noted Williams. “I think I’m going to resort back to homemade Kool-Aid or homemade sweet tea. I think this will affect how much I buy.”