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Soda Tax Battles Continue into 2018

  • As our readers are aware, sweetened beverage taxes have been in the spotlight for several years now. In November 2016, voters in three California cities and in Boulder, Colorado passed measures to tax sweetened beverages, and the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to impose a controversial soda tax (see our 15, 2016 blog). However, only two months after the Cook County, Illinois soda tax became effective in August 2017, it was repealed. Also in 2017, Santa Fe, New Mexico voters rejected a proposed tax of two cents per fluid ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages, and a proposal in Massachusetts to implement a tiered tax on sugar-sweetened beverages didn’t make it out of committee

  • The soda tax debate is continuing into 2018. Seattle’s proposed tax of 1.75 cents per once of sweetened beverages became effective yesterday, January 1, 2018. The tax is 1.75 cents per ounce of sports, energy and other sweetened drinks to be paid by distributors of the beverages. This tax excludes drinks with non-caloric sweeteners.

  • Controversy also surrounds Philadelphia‘s sweetened beverage tax—in effect since January 2017 (see our June 17, 2017 blog). The American Beverage Association filled a petition last July with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court requesting that Philadelphia’s soda tax be overturned. And just last month, PillyPenn (a mobile news platform) reported last month that Pennsylvania state representative Mark Mustio (R-44) circulated a memo seeking co-sponsors for a bill to abolish the soda tax. Another concern with Philadelphia beverage tax is, it is not bringing the projected revenue. The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the total revenue collected from January through November 2017 from the tax is $72.3 million. The estimated revenue for 2017 was $93 million.

  • Stay tuned for further developments concerning the success and/or failure of beverage taxes imposed by jurisdictions throughout the U.S.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 2


About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...