PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– Members of a Pennsylvania Senate committee held a hearing Tuesday on Philadelphia’s controversial soda tax.
The hearing, which was shut down by protesters in the city in June, was held instead in the State Capitol.
The Senate hearing was held at the behest of Philadelphia Democrat Anthony Williams, who insisted that the hearing was not held with an eye toward state legislation that would overturn the beverage tax.
The panel heard from Marc Stier of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. Stier said the tax, which funds pre-kindergarten programs, is working well, and he dismissed the results of a survey by the city controller showing damage the tax is doing to some businesses.
“A survey of businesses at a time when the beverage industry is whipping up hysteria about the beverage tax is not likely to give us accurate results,” said Stier.
But Jeff Brown, owner of several supermarkets in under-served areas of the city, says four of his stores are now unprofitable.
“Those that took the chance on the city are the losers… me being the biggest one,” said Brown.
Brown says he’s now mulling over which of his stores he might have to close to save his company.