I’m making that EXACT face.

Because it doesn’t say it anywhere in the article, I just want to say one thing about this:

If Allegheny County added a tax of 1 cent per ounce on sugary soft drinks, it would cut consumption up to 8 percent. It would also produce an extra $54 million in revenue that could be plowed back into anti-obesity efforts.

And from that same article, this:

The county already taxes soft drinks at 6 percent. In March, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl proposed an added tax of 2 cents per ounce on sugary drinks, in line with a plan of his counterpart in Philadelphia.

Lukey’s plan to tax soft drinks is not to create revenue to be plowed into anti-obesity efforts, like his counterpart in Philadelphia; Lukey’s plan to tax soft drinks is to use it to fund the underfunded pension.

There is a big difference, at least to me. If soft drinks were taxed to maybe build parks or to keep the city’s pools open or to improve biking lanes and paths or to do any number of things that encourage good health, I wouldn’t be as opposed to it.

Doing it to plug a hole in the pension fund?


  1. Pa-pop
    May 6, 2010 2:25 pm

    If I was taxed by your mayor every time I said “Jesus!” after reading things like this, the pension fund would have a surplus.

  2. Butcher's Dog
    May 6, 2010 2:25 pm

    I thought I read the “sugar tax” was DOA. No pun intended. Is it back again?

  3. Sooska
    May 6, 2010 3:29 pm

    @Bdog – it won’t ever go away.

    Why did the PG use “soda” in the headline? That is NOT what we call it here. It is POP. “Soda” is what the jokes to the east of us call it.

  4. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    May 6, 2010 3:42 pm

    Even Mayor Nutter has pretty much given up on this in Philly.

  5. asl87
    May 6, 2010 5:03 pm

    Is see your point Ginny, but without that pension hole, uh, filled, it’s hard to funnel money into quality of life improvements such as more pools or bike lanes.

    I disagree with almost everything Ravenstahl does and truly believe him to be completely in the pocket of developers, so maybe he’d never do the right thing with our tax money. However, if this tax leads to remedying (at least partially) our pension problem and in turn allows more money to be diverted to social services and beautification, then that’s a good thing.

  6. Roxy
    May 6, 2010 5:04 pm

    Why don’t they just tax us for breathing already. People should be healthier but taxing “sugary drinks” isn’t the answer. Maybe the city should do more promoting of healthy eating, cooking classes, buying fresh foods, etc instead of focusing on punishing everyone. And I’m sorry if I choose to suck some sugary syrup down with my Healthy Meal so be it.

  7. asl87
    May 6, 2010 5:09 pm

    This is preemptive but I think people need to examine their knee-jerk reaction to taxes. I’m not saying that our tax money couldn’t be used better, but the reality is, they need to exist. Do you like schools? Roads? Parks? Those come from taxes.

    Roxy, this isn’t meant to attack you, but if the city were to provide cooking classes, help set up more farmer’s markets, and promote healthy eating, that would entail funding from taxes. They have to pay for those somehow. Maybe the money from the pop tax could go to funding those?

  8. Bram R
    May 6, 2010 11:18 pm

    Eh, I still think it’s worthwhile if we’re in an economic emergency with our pension fund, but I see where you’re coming from. ;) With luck today’s news out of the Old New Pittsburgh Coalition will take care of that for us. Progressive income taxation from commuters yo.

  9. Angry Mongo
    May 7, 2010 8:14 am

    First there was the Onorato tax that was unpopular. It was intended to fund the Port Authority. But then it overperformed and Danny Boy wanted to use it for other projects. To which we gave him the dolphin “eeh eh.”

    What makes you think the same thing won’t happen here with a tax that affects nearly everybody?

    Learn to balance a budget and not spend outside your means… like exorbitant amounts for contracted plow truck drivers. Then you wouldn’t need frivolous taxes to plug ya holes.

  10. Steelman
    May 7, 2010 6:58 pm

    I think a quote by Ronald Reagan is appropriate here.

    “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. ”

    Governments never run out of things to tax.

  11. Luke Steelerstahl
    May 7, 2010 7:31 pm

    Taxing soft drinks to battle obsesity makes sense.

    The City of Pittsburgh need revenue to fix the [Harrisburg mandated and created] pension shortfall.

    What tax makes sense there?