Lawsuit Dismissed: Philadelphia Sugary Drink Tax Affirmed

Comments from Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO

June 14, 2017 Categories: Advisories & Comments

DALLAS, June 14, 2017 — Today health prevailed as the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the Philadelphia tax on sugary drinks.

Heart disease and diabetes are far too common in Philadelphia, which has the highest rates of adult diabetes and premature cardiovascular mortality rates among the ten largest cities in the United States.  At the same time, too many Philadelphia kids and families have lacked access to the benefits that robust Pre-K programs provide. Mayor Kenney and the city council took decisive action to change that trajectory when they passed a sugary drink tax to fund Pre-K programs in the city. As a result, paradigms are being transformed. Nearly 2,000 kids are now in quality education programs funded by the tax. Funds are also set to help build a healthier city with improvements to parks and recreation centers. Hopefully the court’s decision puts to rest arguments to delay funding parks and recreation center renovations.  These improvements are critical to ensuring the people of Philadelphia can live active, healthy lives.

Unfortunately, the beverage industry has waged a desperate attempt to put a stop to this progress and Pre-K programs, including filing this lawsuit.  Today, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, protected those Pre-K programs when they correctly affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the Philadelphia has the right to tax the distribution of these unnecessary products.  With this second defeat, it is time for “Big Soda” American Beverage Association to end their needless lawsuits and recognize the seismic shift of consumers demanding healthy beverages.  ABA should follow the lead of those who focus their time, energy and resources to satisfying the new American thirst instead of making their tired arguments and threats of job cuts blaming taxes.

The American Heart Association is proud of the work happening in Philadelphia and will continue to stand with Mayor Kenney and the City Council when they fight to build a culture of health in their city. 

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries:

Suzette Harris: (214) 706-1207; Suzette.Harris@heart.org

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