Soda tax got city $6.4 million in February

- New numbers are now out for the second month of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.

Early Thursday morning, the Department of Revenue announced the city collected $6.4 million in February, which was “slightly exceeding revenue projections” for the month.

Payments for February distribution of sweetened beverages were due by March 20.
That makes a grand total of $12.3 million in the first two months. The Philly Bev Tax started Jan. 1.

January’s revenue was revised upward to $5.9 million from the preliminary total of $5.7 million.

Revenue officials stressed February’s $6.4 million is also a preliminary figure and may change.

February’s number may be more than January’s because impacted products may have already been on shelves before the tax started.

According to the mayor’s office, the projection for a full year of the Philly Bev Tax is more than $91 million.

It added, “Collections of the PBT are expected to fluctuate throughout the year because of seasonal changes in consumption due to events, holidays, and weather. Similar patterns are seen with the City’s Liquor and Amusement Taxes.”

Department of Revenue continues its outreach to distributors and dealers. So far, it visited more than 5,000 retailers to provide information.

“Ultimately, the businesses of Philadelphia need customers and employees,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “And the investments from the PBT will make sure Philadelphia has a talented workforce by starting with quality education for the young, and by ensuring that Philadelphia is a place where people want to live, work, and shop.”

He added, despite controversy over the tax, grocers are benefiting from ongoing reductions of the city’s Wage and Business Income and Receipts Tax.

The Philadelphia Beverage Tax is a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on the distribution of sweetened beverages, as well as syrups and concentrates used to make sweetened beverages.

Money from the Philly Bev Tax will be used to invest in pre-K and community schools, as well as in Philadelphia parks, rec centers, and libraries. When programs are fully implemented, 97 percent of the money will go toward the programs. The last 3 percent will support the Healthy Beverages Tax Credit and the cost of collecting the tax. Click here for more information on the programs.

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