Letters: It's a soda tax, not a grocery tax

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The 3-cents-per-ounce sugary drinks tax, known as the "soda tax," was proposed by Mayor Kenney to City Council in his first budget.

ISSUE | SODA TAX

Not a grocery levy

Soda is not, nor should it be, a staple of the family grocery budget. As I have been telling my pediatric patients and their parents for years, a soda is a candy bar in a can. It is a treat to be enjoyed on special occasions.

The beverage industry lobbyists are wrong when they say the proposed 3-cents-an-ounce tax on sugary drinks will drastically impact families and shoppers, claiming there would be a large spike in grocery prices. It's just not true. Under this proposal, the cost of a loaf of bread would not change. Nor would the cost of meat, fish, dairy items, household supplies, fruits and vegetables, baked goods, frozen foods, or any of a thousand other items that families recognize as real groceries.

Instead, the proposal seeks to direct a fraction of the beverage industry's multibillion-dollar annual profits to pay for expanded pre-K programs and community schools for Philadelphia's children and to revitalize parks, libraries, and recreation centers.

Scare tactics are dishonest. It's a tax on sugary drinks, not a grocery tax.

|Dr. Barbara W. Gold, board vice chair, Food Trust, Philadelphia

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