A new study released today by Catalina, an independent market research firm, found that beverage sales inside the city of Philadelphia have dropped dramatically since the beverage tax went into effect in January and in turn have spiked at stores outside the city border. A Philadelphia Inquirer article captured the emotion of businesses who are suffering from cross-border shopping.
"We don't like it... It's bad for business," an employee at Bruno's Pizza said, whose store sits on the city line. The study found that "soda at franchised grocery and drug stores dropped 55 percent inside the city after the tax went into effect this year, while sales spiked by 38 percent at stores just outside the border." The pattern was similar with sports drinks and ready-to-drink coffee and tea sales.
Taxes have real consequences. We hope that other cities, states and municipalities will learn from Philadelphia and not repeat its mistake.