Friday, May 14, 2010


How much is the mere threat of a soda tax worth?

by Larry Geller

As readers know, this blog has advocated for a soda tax instead of raising excise taxes, for example, or instead of stealing the counties’ transient accommodation taxes. See previous articles here and here.

Philadelphia’s City Council is debating a two-cent per ounce tax on soda, though there are many obstacles to implementing it.

Still, the industry has taken it seriously:

Councilman Frank DiCicco in Council Thursday afternoon said the "soda industry" has offered to pay the city $10 million over two years if officials backed off on a proposal to tax sweetened beverages by the ounce.   [Beyond Green, Soda Lobby Offers to Pay Philly Not to Pass Soda Tax, 5/13/2010]

As the article points out, $10 million is far less than what the soda tax would bring in, so it would be a mistake to accept it.

Well then, why not up the ante? Negotiate. Ask ‘em for $50 million. Whatever.

Which naturally leads to the thought: How much could Hawaii bring in just for the threat of passing a soda tax? Could we pay for ending Furlough Fridays?

Dear legislators, these are hard times, they call for innovative approaches. See what you can do between now and next session.


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