What is Thirsty For Tax Relief?
Thirsty For Tax Relief is a volunteer association that has organized a grassroots campaign to gain support to eliminate local taxes on food and beverages.

What is the Philadelphia Beverage Tax?
In January 2017, the city of Philadelphia imposed a 1.5 cents per ounce, or a $1.92 per gallon, tax on sweetened beverages. This tax has been passed along to consumers who purchase sweetened beverages in grocery stores and other retail and food service establishments throughout the city.

What sweetened beverages are being taxed?
Non-alcoholic sweetened beverages, both those sweetened with a caloric sweetener such as sugar and concentrates, and those sweetened with a non-caloric sugar substitute such as stevia or aspartame. Soda (both regular and diet), sports drinks, sweetened water, energy drinks, pre-sweetened coffees and teas, non-alcoholic cocktail mixers, sweetened almond and coconut milk beverages, and more. 

How does Philadelphia’s beverage tax impact residents?
This tax hurts the Philadelphians who can least afford it, including working families and local businesses. These shockingly high prices have caused a decrease in sales and have forced working families to travel outside city limits to buy all their groceries, not just juices, teas, milks, and sports drinks — taking business out of Philadelphia.

How will this tax impact the prices of everyday items?
More than 4,000 products in your typical grocery store are subject to Philadelphia’s beverage tax. The cost for a two-liter has gone up $1.01; a 12-pack has gone up $2.16. A regular 6-pack of diet green tea used to cost $4.99, now costs $6.07.

Isn’t the Philadelphia beverage tax just a tax on soda?
No, Philadelphia’s beverage tax is not just a tax on soda — it’s a tax on diet beverages, flavored juice, teas, milks, protein and supplement drinks, non-alcoholic cocktail mixers, coffee drinks, sports drinks, and more.

What is a fluid ounce?
The City of Philadelphia imposed a 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax on more than 4,000 beverages. This may not sound like a lot until you consider the size of a fluid ounce. It is equal to the size of only two tablespoons. That means that the cost for a two-liter has gone up $1.01; a 12-pack has gone up $2.16. A regular 6-pack of diet green tea used to cost $4.99, now costs $6.07.

Is fruit juice included?
Juice items that are 100% juice without any added sweetener are NOT subject to the tax.

The city of Philadelphia has stated that the tax money collected will help fund pre-K, community schools, parks, recreational centers and libraries. Is this true?
The City of Philadelphia Department of Revenue has claimed that in a few years, 99 percent of the tax revenue will go toward these programs. Wakefern and its cooperative stores (ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer) support schools and communities, as evident in their collective and individual community involvement and charitable efforts. Unfortunately, middle-class families are burdened by these additional taxes on the products they buy. Additionally, Philadelphia businesses are suffering which has resulted in job loss because of tax policies that target a single industry. In this case, the food/beverage industry. This one industry is being taxed to provide funding for city-wide programs.

Is ShopRite/The Fresh Grocer a lobbyist organization?
No. We support the effort to repeal the Philadelphia Beverage Tax because it has created financial strain on our customers. To show our support, we have granted permission to the Thirsty For Tax Relief organizers to campaign their mission in our Philadelphia stores.

How can I help support efforts to repeal the tax?
You can contact your legislator and tell them to eliminate the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.