Beverage industry appeals to Pa. Supreme Court

The American Beverage Association, along with local merchants fighting the Philadelphia Sweetened Beverage Tax, has appealed a June ruling upholding the levy.

The appeal to the state Supreme Court filed Thursday argues the tax is unlawful because it is passed on to consumers and amounts to a double tax at the register, where customers already pay sales tax. The tax is levied on distributors, and lower courts have ruled twice in favor of the city. Most recently, a panel of seven judges in Commonwealth Court ruled 5-2 upholding the tax.

As long as the tax is in litigation, the city has said it will not ramp up the programs the levy funds, which include a citywide pre-K program and borrowing money to rebuild the city’s parks, recreation centers, and libraries.

“While I am not surprised by the request that was made to the Supreme Court, I remain as confident today about the legality of the tax as I was before two separate courts confirmed it,” City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante said.