In a victory for Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld Philadelphia’s controversial tax on soda and other sweetened beverages.
In a 4-2 majority opinion, the court found that the city had not violated state law by taxing the distribution of beverages. Opponents of the tax had argued that the levy amounted to double taxation because it is passed down to consumers who already pay sales taxes.
Arguments in the case, heard by the Supreme Court in May, focused on a depression-era law known as the Sterling Act that allows the city to tax anything not already taxed by the state. Lawyers for a group of local businesses, consumers, and trade associations argued that the city had tried to get around state law by passing a levy on beverage distribution rather than sales.
The Supreme Court disagreed, siding instead with the city.
by Laura McCrystal
July 18, 2018