May 7, 2018
Legislation that would reverse Philadelphia’s soda tax and preempt other municipalities from levying one was approved last week by the House Commerce Committee.
House Bill 2241 was authored in response to the negative impact that the tax is having on retailers in city. The well-known “soda tax,” which is actually a tax on sugary wide range of beverages sold in the city, went into effect in early 2017 as a way to generate revenue for early education and community programs – a noble cause, but one that has resulted in lost sales to many business owners throughout Philadelphia and threatens to close their doors.
The bill, which passed on a party-line vote, prompted a broader discussion on the issue of preemption – or blocking local governments from levying taxes or adopting ordinances that the state legislature believes are not in the best interests of its citizens or deal with topics that should be decided at the statewide level. Prominent among the supporters of the bill is the PA Food Merchants Association, which represents many of the businesses that are impacted by the soda tax. In a statement issued before the committee’s consideration of the bill, PFMA President Alex Baloga said, “More than 280,000 people work in the agriculture and food industries in Pennsylvania, and this legislation would safeguard those good paying jobs.” For this reason, the PA Chamber also is in favor of the bill.
House Bill 2241 now awaits further consideration in the state House.
Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.