"Taxing Sugar to Fund a City"
Mark Bittman, New York Times
CFFP has described itself as a group that is “driving as far as the headlights show us” which requires significant patience, flexibility, and innovation. Cities like Berkley, which precedes Philadelphia in enacting a sugar tax, have demonstrated the benefits of such innovation. Philadelphia attempts to blaze the trail a bit further, leveraging sugar & junk food taxes for anti-poverty efforts. Similar to “farmraising” above, this is an example of how innovation in food systems work can often address several challenges at once – in this case, high burdens of nutritional disease in low-income communities and lack of public services in those same communities.
Philadelphia is proposing a sugar tax that will be leveraged for anti-poverty initiatives. A tax as high as three cents per-ounce on soda, sweet teas, energy drinks, and sugar-added juices could provide substantial revenue for the city. These funds would be used to service low-income communities in Philadelphia, which is the nation’s poorest big city. Proposed services include universal preschool, recreation centers, libraries, and parks. Mayor Kennedy aims to address structural inequalities, saying “[major soda companies] sell more of their product in poor communities than elsewhere, and for generations none of that profit was passed on to those communities. There is no downside to this other than that the three major soda companies may make a little less money.”
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