Philadelphia Just Became the First Major American City to Institute a Soda Tax

Despite pushback from the beverage industry, sugary drinks will now cost 1.5 cents per ounce more in Philly than other drinks
Philadelphia has succeeded where other cities like San Francisco have failed.


Philadelphia has succeeded where other cities like San Francisco have failed.

Even after the beverage industry poured millions of dollars into campaigns to keep this from happening, America’s first major soda tax has finally passed in Philadelphia.Now in the City of Brotherly Love, sugary drinks like soda, sweetened iced tea, and lemonade, will cost 1.5 cents more per ounce than other, healthier beverages.

The City Council in Philadelphia approved the measure on June 16, becoming the first city to do so after Berkeley, California, enacted a similar law last year. Proposals for soda taxes have failed in major cities like San Francisco, New York City, and more across the country for several years now.

"Thanks to the tireless advocacy of educators, parents, rec center volunteers and so many others, Philadelphia made a historic investment in our neighborhoods and in our education system today," mayor Jim Kenney said after the vote was passed. “The [revenue] will help improve the education, health and prosperity of children and families all across our city for years to come."

The approximately $90 million expected from the new tax will be used to help build pre-schools, community schools, and recreation centers in the city, according to ABC News.


The tax will enter the city’s fiscal budget on July 1 but won’t be enacted until 2017.