In a 4-2 decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Philadelphia soda tax, rejecting a major challenge brought by the beverage and food merchant industries. Philadelphia passed the new tax back in 2016 assessing distributors and dealers 1.5 cents per ounce on sugary beverages. The city cleverly drafted the tax to apply to the distribution process and not the end consumer and that nuance is all the court needed to find that the tax did not duplicate the state sales tax on soda purchases, since the sales tax is paid by the end consumer. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Thomas Saylor incredibly wrote that “[t]he payer of the beverage tax is the distributor, or in certain circumstances, dealers, but never the purchasing consumer.” We’ll let that statement stand without comment! The city has been collecting the tax, which has generated significantly less than projected, since it first became effective in January of 2017. There is separate legislation pending at the state level in Harrisburg that would strip Philadelphia of its ability to impose the soda tax, but that legislation is unlikely to be passed into law.