Despite the fact that the Jersey Shore is almost two hours away from downtown Philadelphia, local stores are putting up signs telling visitors “Don’t Pay More, Buy at the Shore.” Philadelphians have been shopping at stores just over the border to find relief from the regressive beverage tax. Now that it’s summer, it appears some Philadelphians are taking the opportunity to stock up while on vacation to avoid the Mayor’s tax.
This cross-border shopping hurts businesses in Philadelphia. Stores not only lose revenue from beverages, but other grocery items picked up by shoppers. The tax has not only caused sales declines but also job losses as grocery stores and beverage distributors have been forced to announce layoffs in the hundreds. Other employees have seen their hours cut and their paychecks reduced.
Taxes have very real consequences. We hope that other cities, states and municipalities will learn from Philadelphia and not repeat its mistake.