Phenix City Opposes Possible Soft Drink Tax

Dec. 18, 2007

PHENIX CITY, Al (WTVM) - A proposed five-cent soft drink tax in Russell County gets a flat reaction from councilors in Phenix City.  Tuesday morning, Phenix City council members passed a resolution opposing a soft drink tax proposed by the Russell County Commission last week.

This is the second time the commission has brought up the tax this year.  It's all because the county is seeking ways to generate revenue.   However, Tuesday morning Phenix City Councilors disagreed.  "Whats going to happen is it will push customers into Columbus and Lee County to buy groceries.  When they buy drinks elsewhere they will soon buy all groceries there.  So in our opinion there's no benefit to Russell County," said Phenix City Mayor Jeff Hardin.

County Commissioners say last time, they tired this, the decision would have been up to them.  However this time they're seeking input from the public.  "Only difference in this and last proposal is it's available to public to be voted on.  Hopefully, it will be ready to vote on by the next primary in June," said County Commissioner Gorden Cox.

If the proposed tax goes to a vote 40% of the proceeds will go to the Volunteer Fire Departments, 10% to the Recreation Departments, and the remaining 50% will go to help fund county projects.  However, the city feels the county needs to find other options to generate revenue other than taxing citizens in both the county and city.  "I think what they should do instead of double taxing the people that live within city limits is to take a look at how they can tax people in county who will benefit from new taxes," said Hardin.

City Manager Bubba Roberts told council members Tuesday morning he will be meeting with the local legislative delegation to discuss why the city is opposing the soda tax.

So now, if the legislature approves taking the tax to a vote.  Citizens can decide if they want a soda tax or not.