(PHILADELPHIA) May 19, 2016 – As an alternative means to fund Mayor Jim Kenney’s Universal Pre-K, community schools and rebuild initiatives, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown (At Large) introduced a non-reusable container tax bill. The legislation defines a non-reusable beverage container as an “individual, separate, and sealed glass, metal, or plastic bottle, can, jar, or carton, not ordinarily collected from consumers for refilling, that contains a beverage of more than seven fluid ounces, and is intended for consumption off premises.” Beverages that are NOT taxable include baby formula, milk products, fountain drinks and those that are sold at restaurants and any beverage that is in a container of seven fluid ounces or less (such as Juicy Juice).
Taxable items include any soft drink, whether or not carbonated (such as cola, ginger ale, root beer, or sarsaparilla); any soda water, carbonated water, natural or artificial water, natural or spring water, or flavored water; natural or artificial ready-to-drink tea; natural or artificial ready-to-drink coffee; or artificial vegetable juice; and energy drink. A tax bill of this nature broadens the scope of taxable items and is projected to yield a minimum of $64 million dollars at a rate of 15 cents per container. If the tax bill is imposed, an 11 ounce bottle of Perrier sparkling mineral water would be taxed at the equivalent of 1.36 cents per ounce, and a family sized iced tea would be taxed at the equivalent of roughly .117 cents per ounce.
“If the goal is to provide a sustainable proposal that will allow for Universal Pre-K for all , improvements and access to recreation centers for all and community schools for all, then the tax should impact all–from soda to Perrier,” Councilwoman Reynolds Brown emphasized. “The legislation symbolizes shared sacrifice and does not focus on one specific group, product or industry. Therefore, it is less regressive, more sustainable and equitable. From the very beginning of this process, my office has asked for alternatives. This legislation fosters continued discussion, conversation and debate about how we fund these essential programs.”
For additional information please contact Communications Manager Haniyyah Sharpe-Brown at 215-686-3438 or 267-324-8839.
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Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown serves as the Majority Whip for City Council. More information at www.phlcouncil.com/BlondellReynoldsBrown.
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