Philadelphia passes soda tax at 1.5 cents per ounce

Coca Cola soda tax in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the second city in the United States to approve a soda tax.

In a 13-4 vote the Philadelphia City Council on Thursday passed a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-added and artificially sweetened soft drinks.

A can of soda will cost 18 cents more and a six-pack will increase by $1.08.

The soda tax is added to the 8% sales tax that already applied to soda in Pennsylvania. Soda is classified as food, which is tax exempt in some states, but not in Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is expected to sign the bill. Kenney originally proposed a 3-cents-per-ounce soda tax.

The new tax goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017 and is estimated to raise $91 million a year for the state.

Philadelphia officials say the money will help it fund pre-K expansion, community schools, reinvestment in parks and recreation centers, and add to the City’s General Fund.

In 2014, Berkeley, California, became the first city in the country to pass a soda tax.

The American Beverage Association calls the taxes “highly discriminatory” and highly unpopular among Americans.

Some experts have questioned whether adding a tax to soda and other sugary drinks actually helps curb obesity and other health-related issues.