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US soft drinks body sues Philadelphia over soda tax

FBR Staff Writer Published 16 September 2016

The American Beverage Association (ABA) and a workers union representing soft drinks employees have jointly filed a lawsuit against Philadelphia over the city's proposal to implement a soda tax.

The ABA and Teamsters Local 830 are seeking to block the tax from going forward until a court can hear arguments about it.

Teamsters Local 830’s Danny Grace says that the soda tax hurts many while helping none.

Grace also said: "The jobs that will be lost as a result of the tax on soda beverages will put hardworking men and women out of work. These are the same working families which keep Philadelphia commerce running. This tax must be stopped!"

Three months ago, store owners, beverage workers along with hundreds of members from various unions gathered at the Philadelphia’s city hall to voice their protest against the city council for planning the soda tax.

Calling the soda tax as a regressive tax that will hurt the industry, Teamsters International vice president Bill Hamilton said: "The issue has never been about health and we will all end up paying for this tax with the job losses that will occur if the mayor's soda tax is passed."

In mid June this year, the Philadelphia City Council had approved a tax of 1.5 cent-per-ounce on both sugary and diet beverages in a move to curb obesity problems, while expecting to raise $91m from the proceeds.

Philadelphia in the process became the first major city in the US to impose a soda tax. The tax is scheduled to come into effect from 1 January 2017.

Image : Teamsters and American Beverage Association file a lawsuit to oppose Philadelphia’s proposed soda tax. Photo : courtesy of Teamsters.