by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
That’s a quote from one of the people who’s on the losing end of Philadelphia’s new soda tax. Reason reports that, according to libertarian John Stossel, a $2 liter bottle of soda now costs $3. That’s thanks to the tax.
Philadelphia City Councilman William Greenlee defends the tax, saying they’re “raising enough money to put 2,700 kids in Pre-K and to open 11 community schools.”
The pizza parlor’s customers didn’t think their taxes were being well spent. “Preschool? I doubt that very much,” one man tells Stossel.
“The mayor says he is helping people,” Stossel replies.
“He ain’t helping me,” the customer answers. “He is tearing me up.”
Another unintended consequence: Soda sales are down in Philadelphia, but liquor sales are up. When Stossel mentions that to Greenlee, he replies, “I don’t know about that, ’cause we have a liquor tax, too!”
I thought we’d gotten past the “it’s for the children” defense of imposing new tax burdens. Not in Philadelphia. If the city’s elected leaders determine that funding more pre-K slots is a priority, that’s fine. But the appropriate next step is to reprioritize spending. Instead, they’ve chosen to ‘help’ one group by burdening another group.