New Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney included a $.03 cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks as an integral revenue component for his first budget as Mayor of the City of Brotherly Love. Kenney, who opposed the $.02 soda tax that his predecessor Mayor Michael Nutter had proposed, didn’t take long to change his stripes into a soda-tax advocate. The $4 billion city budget that he proposed hinges heavily on passage of the new tax, which the Mayor touts will raise $95 million per year, but the funds generated will be used to fund an array of new programs the administration is pushing. At the beginning of last month, Kenney named as his Health Commissioner, Dr. Tom Farley, who previously served as the NYC Health Commissioner under NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the original architect of the sugary soda ban (and tax?)! This is a prime example of the ripple effect that we’ve cautioned about – a politician floats an idea and a host of others latch on to it and businesses have to fight it across multiple cities and states! Currently, only Berkeley, California has a bona fide soda tax (1% per ounce) on its books. As troubling as all of this may be, in my view, the most troubling component is the fact that Kenney has called the profits from soda and other sugary drinks “obscene”! An elected official is unqualified to define a ‘correct’ profit on any privately sold item, and when they do, it doesn’t bode well for where we’re heading as a capitalist society!