Press Releases

Press Releases: Controller’s Office Releases Data on Philadelphia Beverage Tax Revenue and Expenditures

For immediate release: Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Contact: Jolene Nieves Byzon, 215-300- 1071

Philadelphia, PA – As part of a larger effort to increase transparency and show the public how the City spends taxpayer money, the City Controller’s Office will release information periodically to keep the public informed. Today, the Office of the City Controller released its first set of information as part of this effort, data on the revenue generated by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) and FY18 to-date and the expenditures related to those funds.

The data shows that the majority of revenue generated by the beverage tax is not being spent on Pre-K, Community Schools, and debt service for Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild), as originally
intended. According to information recorded in the City of Philadelphia’s general ledger system (FAMIS), about 74% of the nearly $85 million generated by the beverage tax since its inception has gone to the City’s General Fund.

In FY17, the City collected more than $39.5 million, spending 21.2% or about $8.36 million on Pre-K and less than 3%, or $1.16 million, on Community Schools. Almost $30 million, or about 76% of FY17 beverage tax revenue, went to the General Fund. To-date (as of March 2, 2018) in FY18, the City has collected almost $45.2 million, spending about 25% of funds, or almost $11.3 million, on Pre-K and less than $1 million, or just 2%, on Community Schools. Almost $33 million, or about 73% of revenue generated by the beverage tax to-date for FY18, has gone to the General Fund. No revenue has been used for Rebuild.
In 2016, Mayor Kenney proposed the Philadelphia Beverage Tax to fund the City’s Pre-K expansion, Community Schools program, and the debt service for the bond borrowings for Rebuild. The tax, a 1.5-cents
per ounce levy, was passed by City Council in June 2016 and took effect January 1, 2017.

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