Pepsi to lay off 80 to 100 workers, citing Philadelphia tax

In this Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015 photo, bottles of Diet Pepsi with, left, and without aspartame, center and right, sit in a case at a store in New York. In response to customer feedback, PepsiCo said earlier this year that it would replace the aspartame in Diet Pepsi with another artificial sweetener that has less baggage. (AP Photo/Candice Choi)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pepsi says slumping sales from Philadelphia’s new sweetened-beverage tax are prompting layoffs of 80 to 100 workers at three distribution plants that serve the city.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ( ) reports the company sent out notices Wednesday saying layoffs will occur in Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware.

The company employs 423 people in the city. Pepsi spokesman Dave DeCececco says the tax has cut sales by 40 percent there.

The 1.5-cent-per-ouce tax on sweetened and diet beverages is imposed at the distributor level. If fully passed onto the consumer, it amounts to $1.44 on a six-pack of 16-ounce bottles.

Some Philadelphia supermarkets and beverage distributors have also said they’re gearing up for layoffs.

The city accuses Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo of “holding hostage the jobs of hardworking people in their battle to overturn the tax.”

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