Philadelphia sees a new beverage tax. Will it come to Erie next?

Local News

The State Supreme Court upholding a controversial tax that affects how much some Pennsylvanians are paying for their sweet beverages.

The tax doesn’t affect us in Erie County, at least not yet.  

Herb Wilson has been drinking Coca-Cola products all his life. “Three a day!”

And, while he loves his Diet Coke, he says a sweetened beverage tax would deter him from purchasing, which is one of the goals of a $0.015 per ounce sweetened beverage tax that has been imposed on residents of Philadelphia. Cracking open a can of your favorite 12-ounce sweetened beverage would cost you an additional 18 cents.     

The American Beverage Association has poured millions of dollars into fighting the ruling.  But, the State Supreme Court ultimately upheld the mayor of Philadelphia’s program.

Could a similar tax come to Erie?  And if it did, would locals still buy their sweet drinks?

A couple of locals weigh in saying, “Yeah… can’t tell me what to do (laughs)” and “Not at all. I’d buy it. When I’m thirsty, I’ll buy it.”

Fortunately, for these sweet drink loving locals, imposing this type of tax in Erie would be difficult.  Unlike Philadelphia, a sweetened beverage tax in Erie County would not be up to the mayor to implement. 

Fiore Leone of Erie County Council tells us, “We couldn’t do this as members of  County Council or as City Council… they can’t do it either. What has to be done is that it would have to be done by State Legislatures if they were going to do that.”  Leone says he’s a fan of the idea, but it’s never been brought up or considered at this point locally. 

While it seems like robbery to the people of Philadelphia, the revenue generated from the tax will be used to fund community schools and improvements to parks, libraries, and recreation centers. 

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