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As expected, the Philadelphia City Council yesterday passed legislation that will assess a tax on sweetened beverages - 1.5 cents an ounce on all sugary or artificially sweetened drinks sold by distributors in the city. The tax is expected to increase prices, but also raise more than $90 million a year for the city.

The debate about the efficacy of such a tax continues, with proponents saying that it will result in the reduction of sugary drinks that have been linked to obesity and diabetes, as well as raising money that can be used for things like public libraries and pre-K education. Opponents, on the other hand, say that the tax reflects a "nanny state" attitude that only will really impact lower-income residents who will be paying more for the drinks, and that there is no real evidence that such an approach to public policy has an impact on the public's health.

A lawsuit against the city is anticipated.
KC's View:
I'm skeptical about how the funds are going to be used; I always think that elected officials rarely live up to these kinds of commitments. And I do tend to believe that it is likely that this bill will be wrapped up in litigation for years to come, which will cost the city all sorts of money that might be better used elsewhere. (Like libraries and pre-K.)