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Appeals court upholds Philadelphia's tax on sweetened drinks

Written by The Associated Press | Jun 14, 2017 1:08 PM
Philly_soda_tax_march17.jpg

In this March 16, 2017 photo, Albert Delarosa stocks shelves with Coca-Cola products at the IGA supermarket in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia. Less than three months into Philadelphia's new tax on sweetened drinks, the stakes have escalated: Beverage makers say the measure is hurting sales so much they need to cut jobs, while city officials say the moves are a ploy to get the tax struck down. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(PHILADELPHIA) -- A state appeals court is upholding Philadelphia's 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, saying it doesn't duplicate the state sales tax.

Commonwealth Court's 5-to-2 decision Wednesday backed a decision by a city judge in December.

The court majority says the beverage tax, imposed on distributors, doesn't hit the same subject or people as the sales tax.

The two-judge dissent says the ordinance that allows the beverage tax duplicates the sales tax because it can only be imposed ``in relation to the retail sale of sugar-sweetened beverages.''

If fully passed on to consumers, the tax is $1.44 on a six-pack of 16-ounce bottles.

City officials say the tax has brought in more than $25 million since taking effect in January, but will likely fall short of projected revenues this year.

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