Philadelphia’s beverage tax is nowhere close to meeting expectations and businesses are being forced to lay off employees. In other words, it is performing as well as most liberal boondoggles.
Two months into the city’s sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors are reporting a 30 percent to 50 percent drop in beverage sales and are planning for layoffs. One of the city’s largest distributors says it will cut 20 percent of its workforce in March, and an owner of six ShopRite stores in Philadelphia says he expects to shed 300 workers this spring.
“People are seeing sales decline larger than anything they’ve seen up to this point in the city,” said Alex Baloga, vice president of external relations at the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association.
Mayor Jim “I’ll Have Another Drink” Kenney reacted accordingly, by first questioning the legitimacy of the numbers, then by accusing beverage businesses of being “greedy.” Yeah, smart take, Jimbo.
The irony is beverage consumption is not down, only Philadelphia sales are. Those Philly residents who can go outside the city to buy drinks have been doing so.
Bob Brockway, chief operating officer of Canada Dry Delaware Valley, which distributes about 20 percent of the city’s soft drinks, said sales were down 45 percent in Philadelphia. The company will lay off 20 percent of its workforce the first week in March. The distributor is a subsidiary of Honickman Affiliates, owned by Harold Honickman, who helped lead the opposition to the tax last summer.
Since most politicians have never owned a business – or held a real job – they never realize corporations are not in the business to hire people; they are in the business of making money.
Jeff Brown, CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, which manages six ShopRite stores in the city, said beverage sales were down 50 percent from Jan. 1 to Feb. 17 compared with the same period in 2016. More concerning, he said, is a 15 percent dip in overall sales at city stores.
“People didn’t change what they drink,” Brown said. “They changed where they’re buying it.”
That’s what I have been doing since New Year’s Day. I’ll take a ten-minute drive to the Bensalem Shop Rite, buy my beverages in bulk, and save money while sticking it to our jackass mayor.
I feel badly for the people losing their jobs, but if they want someone to blame, they should look no further than Philadelphia City Hall.