Philadelphians reeling over city's new sugary drink tax

PHILADELPHIA -- At one ShopRite supermarket in Philadelphia, shoppers are experiencing sticker shock over the increased costs of sugary drinks. 

Elois Dickerson saw the price of her flavored sparkling beverage go up more than 100 percent. 

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Maurice Broadwater

CBS News

Maurice Broadwater mistook the 96 cent tax for the price of juice. “I thought that was the sale price, like 96 cents off” he said.

Philadelphia became the first big city to impose a tax on all sugary or artificially sweetened drinks. The tax adds 1.5 cents per ounce. 

Grocery store owner Jeff Brown says the extra tax is hurting his customers. 

“The fear is the loss of revenue will cause some of the stores to close,” Brown said. 

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Before the tax, an eight-pack of Gatorade, which is 160 ounces, cost $5.99. The new price is $8.39. A gallon of iced tea which was $2.89 has almost doubled in cost; the beverage tax adds $1.92. 

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Marisa Waxman

CBS News

Aside from health benefits, Deputy Revenue Commissioner Marisa Waxman says the tax is meant to help the community. 

“We anticipate that the first year of collection will generate about $91 million that we can use towards pre-k, community school, as parks libraries and rec centers,” Waxman said. 

But Ervin Graham says the city has to find a better way. He returned his iced tea after realizing he paid almost $2 in beverage taxes.