Sugar tax a possibility for budget hole

    Philadelphia officials are considering a so-called sugar tax to help plug an ever increasing budget hole.

    Philadelphia officials are considering a so-called sugar tax to help plug an ever increasing budget hole. Administration officials floated the idea at a budget briefing on Wednesday.

    Listen:
    [audio: 100204spcouncil.mp3]

    A tax on sugary soft drinks could accomplish two things – raise revenue and reduce obesity.

    With the city facing a potential budget gap of millions of dollars over the next five years, council members say this could be one way to fill the hole. Philadelphia City Council President Anna Verna.

    Verna: There’s a question about how we raise revenues, I think that would be a harmless way of doing it. We don’t want to raise property taxes, we don’t want to raise other taxes. So in view of everyone talking about obesity, children in schools, drinking sodas, I think one would balance the other.

    Other council members remain skeptical about how such a tax would be enforced.

    Obesity researchers are pushing for a national sugar-tax that is high enough to make a dent in consumption. New York, Mississippi and New Hampshire are all considering a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages, including sodas, teas, and energy drinks.

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