Philadelphians have known a new soda tax was coming since June, when Mayor Kenney signed into law a bill placing a 1.5-cent-per-ounce levy on sugary drinks, including diet beverages.
That tax, which is levied at the distributor level but was expected to be passed on to consumers, went into effect Sunday at the start of the new year. As 2016 ended, outreach teams were making stops around the city to alert store owners about the new tax.
But despite those efforts and the months of contentious debate that preceded City Council's vote passing the tax, many consumers have still been surprised this week when they were charged higher prices for sweetened beverages.
Photos and observations of receipts and store displays reflecting new, higher prices were generating debate on social media.
— Renegade (@Poppa_Diop) January 2, 2017
From a Facebook post, the Philadelphia sugary drink tax implemented today damn, between that & Pennsylvania gas tax no wonder folk revolted pic.twitter.com/ZUtmufCyQn
— SalenaZito (@SalenaZito) January 2, 2017
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) January 1, 2017
Some Philadelphians expressed relief at not having a soda habit, or indicated they might start drinking less of the taxed beverages.
I'm glad I don't really drink soda #sodatax
— Boss Lady (@SparklebySonjiB) January 1, 2017
Soda tax went into effect in philly today. $1 tax for a $1 2liter soda. Needless to say I put that back!!! #phillyispetty
— Tiffany B. (@tiffinphilly) January 2, 2017
Looks like the only drink I'll be buying in philly is water. The soda tax is crazy
— Coady (@CoadyClarhaut) January 3, 2017
the Philly soda tax is just more inspiration for me to NOT drink soda anymore
— Love J. (Numbuh 5) (@LxveJ) January 2, 2017
Others suggested they would start shopping for sweetened drinks elsewhere
Ima just have to be real extra & get my soda from Delaware because nobody paying that soda tax����
— brownskin (@ksharay_) January 3, 2017
— Dan Baker (@Nadrekab) January 3, 2017
And some wondered whether stores were simply using the new levy as an excuse to raise prices.
So are some grocery stores just marking up prices of unsweetened items and blaming it on the soda tax?
— Jon Geeting (@jongeeting) January 3, 2017