Beyond Philly: Other cities already looking to duplicate soda tax plan

Even before the ink was dry on Philadelphia’s new soda tax ordinance, other cities were looking to copy it.

Before they do, though, they might want to wait and see how things turn out in the first major American city to pass such a tax.

Already, the Philadelphia soda tax is a major victory for the pro-tax crowd. Over the past eight years, cities have made more than 40 attempts to pass soda taxes, according to the American Beverage Association. Nearly all of those efforts have ended in defeat, including two previous attempts to pass a soda tax in Philadelphia.

But last week’s vote by the Philadelphia City Council could change perceptions about what is politically possible elsewhere. Politicians and special interest groups in favor of higher taxes are already licking their chops at the idea.

In Baltimore, Health Commissioner Leana Wen issued a statement commending Philadelphia’s new tax.

“We hope that Baltimore will follow suit,” she said.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who once tried to ban big sodas in his hometown and financially backed a nonprofit that ran ads supporting the soda tax in Philadelphia, also sees the city as a launching site for other efforts.

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