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Alaska creates a statewide online sales tax collection commission

Philadelphia collects $115,000 in soda tax fines

Cokes in our pantry cropped

Using taxes to try to shape people's actions is not new.

A British monarch tried it back in 1678 with a beard tax.

In modern times, governments worldwide have focused on sin taxes that typically are applied to things that aren't healthy, like cigarettes, fatty foods and sugar-sweetened beverages.

One of the so-called soda taxes was approved by Philadelphia in 2016. It took effect on Jan. 1 of the next year, adding a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax to not just Cokes, as we Texans refer to all sodas, but also to sugary beverages like bottled and canned iced tea and sports drinks.

Philly soda tax enforcement: But making sure the city gets the soda tax money requires more than just slapping a new tax on the affected drinks.

It also takes a lot of enforcement effort.

In the three years since the tax took effect, Philadelphia has fined more than 100 retail businesses for ignoring the law.

These stores basically are ignoring the law by buying taxable beverages from authorized distributors. They can find one using the city's online search app.

Shop owners also have the option to pay the soda tax directly to Philadelphia instead.

When a business fails to do either, it could face $1,000 fine for each offense.

Such is the case for 115 Philadelphia stores. reports that these retailers' under-the-tax-table purchases have, to date, accounted for $115,000 in penalties.

Those fines not only earned the City of Brotherly Love added revenue, but the $115,000 also earned the ol' blog's By the Numbers honors for this week.

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