Philadelphia has won Round 1 of its fight with the beverage industry to preserve the 1.5 cents per ounce tax it imposed on sugary drinks back in June. In a 14 page decision, Common Pleas Judge Gary Glazer dismissed the legal challenge to the Philadelphia Beverage Tax (PBT) brought by the American Beverage Association and others in September. Glazer ruled that because the additional 1.5 cents per ounce tax is charged at the distributor level, it does not qualify as a sales tax and hence, doesn’t duplicate the Pennsylvania sales and use tax. To that point, he writes, “The respective taxes apply to two different transactions, have two different measures and are paid by different taxpayers. What is determinative is . . . how the PBT operates, not what private actors will do in response to the tax to offset the burden of the tax or other post-tax economic transactions.” The beverage industry is expected to appeal the decision, despite the Mayor urging them not to appeal in a statement after the decision was rendered. Regardless, the new tax will begin on January 1, with the first payment due February 20. If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck . . .