Just a week after I reported that Colorado was moving to increase taxes on its sugary drinks, Philadelphia Mayor Nutter is expected to announced a new tax on sugary drinks.

Nutter plans to present his 2010-2011 budget on tomorrow. Expected to be included is a 2 cents per ounce tax on sugary drinks. That’s right: 2 cents per ounce.

Let me run those numbers for you:

Can of soda: 24 cent tax increase.
Individual bottle of soda: 32 cent tax increase.
Six pack of soda: $1.44 tax increase.
2 liter bottle of soda: $1.28 tax increase.


But Nutter’s plan doesn’t stop there. It also includes a residential trash fee of $300 per year. No word yet on how businesses (and rental properties) would be affected.

It’s estimated that the soda tax and the trash fee would raise enough revenue to eliminate the City’s deficit. But at what cost?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m actually not opposed to the idea of increased taxes in the City. I realize that we have a budget problem like many cities and towns these days. And I want the City to continue to pick up my trash, plow my streets and keep my libraries open. I just wish we could do those things differently – like roll the cost into real estate taxes. Those would be more equitable than a flat residential fee and would be more efficient to administer. Even better for taxpayers? They’d be deductible, unlike the proposed trash fee.

But this trash fee as proposed? Nightmarish. I can feel it.

A lot of the details are still be worked out. I’ll let you know how things sit once we hear the official announcement.

In the meantime, don’t get too settled in your own city and/or state. My guess is that higher taxes and fees are coming to you, too.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.


  1. I think the trash tax is going to create a lot of problems and city is going to end up with trash thrown away in the streets during the middle of the night. Asking ppl to pay $300 for trash services is ridiculous in Philadelphia.

    For the soda tax, I can definitely live with that and think its actually great. It serves the double benefit of helping ppl live healthier. Maybe parents will have second thoughts of giving their children sodas, and kids will actually be healthier.

    Nutter should look for other ways to raise revenue than taxing trash pickup because its going to blow up in his face.

  2. In theory I’m actually not fully opposed to either of these proposals. But what burns me is the ENORMOUS amount of property taxes that already sits uncollected in Philly that would go a long way in closing the deficit…

  3. I think goverment officials needs to find better things to start adding taxes to. This is a land of freedom and oppurtunity and it is not that way anymore. Officals decide hey why not tax this it does not hurt me I do not use the rduct or could care less. As americans we should be able to buy what we feel fit for our selves and enjoy life whileon it. I myself think soda yes is not the best thing to drink but enjoy every drop I take in. For the taxes on milk,gas,clothes state taxes property taxes etc. no wonder we are in a bind we kep raising taxes and not provinding jobs for our people. And not to say wasting money on helping all the other countries out instear here at home.

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