Fight over Soda Tax continues: report of 40 jobs lost
Coca-Cola blames soda tax for 40 jobs lost.
The Philadelphia Soda Tax has not been met with the highest praise. From a lawsuit from beverage companies to local outrage, the Soda Tax has received backlash despite raking in $7 million in collections for the month of March.
And the efforts against the tax continue, Coca-Cola announced that a total of 40 jobs have been lost as a result of the tax in addition to a 32 percent dip in sales in the city.
Fran McGorry, president and general manager of local Coca-Cola bottler Philly Coke, said to Philly.com “We are not able to replace those positions right now,” he said. “In total, we have fewer people working in the city while more people are now working outside Philadelphia due to increased demand there. We have also made the decision not to hire seasonal employees for the summer months due to the negative impact the tax is having on our business.”
Using the city of Berkeley’s soda tax as a guide, the city released a report from the Public Health Institute and the University of North Carolina that analyzed the impact of the tax after one year of implementation.
The 1.5-cent-per-ounce levy in Philadelphia is apparently right on track with it’s predecessor. The study found that while sales of the sweetened beverages fell (for Berkeley at 9.6%) overall beverage sales rose, particularly with a rise in the sales of bottled water.
The study authors also debunked some of the expected risks of the Soda Tax saying, “There was no evidence in the studied chains of higher grocery bills for consumers, loss of gross revenue per transaction for stores, or decreases in overall beverage sales for stores,” the study’s authors conclude.
Philadelphia Commerce Director, Harold T. Epps, affirmed that the tax was right on track, "With so many anecdotal and often unverified claims being pushed around by opponents of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, this study offers encouraging scientific evidence of what we can expect to see here. It’s also an important reminder that it’s difficult to truly measure the economic impact of any tax with less than a year’s worth of data."
With the new study from Berkeley and Coca-Cola’s announcement it would layoff 1,200 nationally, Lauren Hitt, Mayor Kenney’s spokesperson said, “Coke had a bad first quarter and announced job cuts across all their markets earlier this week,” Hitt said to Philly.com. “This is likely just a part of that.”
The beverage industry’s suit against the city is ongoing.