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February 23, 2017

Philly says it doubled projected revenue from soda tax in first month

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's office announced Thursday morning that so far, the city has taken in more than double the projected revenue from a tax on sugary beverages implemented at the beginning of the year.

According to Kenney, the city had anticipated taking in $2.3 million in January but collected $5.7 million.

Marc Stier, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, said in a press release from Kenney's office that usually, there's a lag in revenue when these types of taxes are implemented.

"That the first month’s Beverage Tax revenues are so high is reason to believe the goal for the year will be met," Stier said. 

Officials project $91 million in revenue for the full fiscal year.

The city still cautioned that revenue for the initial months of the tax is expected to lower for a number of reasons. For example, some distributors stocked up on inventory before the tax went into effect. Those beverages aren't subject to the tax.

The 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax was passed last year in order to fund several programs, including a universal pre-K program.

It was met with fierce opposition from the beverage industry and distributors. Some businesses told the Inquirer Tuesday that they were expecting layoffs because of reduced sales caused by the tax.

The city believes businesses will bounce back once customers get over the increased prices.