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Coffee and child care?

August 24th, 2003 · No Comments

Today’s Seattle Times has an article describing the ten cent per cup espresso tax , that will be on the September 16 primary ballot in Seattle. The money raised – millions of dollars, the article claims – would go to subsidize city preschool and child care programs.

While we are not coffee drinkers as a family, I’m not sure I agree with the idea of taxing espresso so that child-care funds can be raised. Why is it that we can’t get money for good causes other than raising taxes? And why tax a capuccino or latte?

“This is a city that cares about its coffee and its kids,” said Lynn B. Wirta, director of a child care center, which has 145 kids a week enrolled in classes for ages 2-1/2 to 12.

I care about kids too, and when I worked at a nonprofit, I saw how hard it is to get funds for the needy, and how many needs there are….

But I also agree with:
“What’s next? Is there going to be a salmon tax to pay for literacy programs?” said Robert Nelson, president and chief executive officer of the National Coffee Association.

Is it true that, as Wirta states: “The affluent of Seattle are the people who drink a lot of espresso” ? Lattes are a luxury item? Thereby justification of taxation. But I can think of other food items that cost $3…what about smoothies, for example? Or Happy Meals :)?

Some interesting statistics in this article about coffee and coffeehouses….
Only 4% of people consume espresso nationwide – but 28% of Seattle residents report visting in a coffehouse in the past 30 days. 37% of those with household incomes over $100K had been to the coffeehouses while only 23% of those with income under $25K.

Certainly Seattle’s children are a “good cause” and could use the funds. And an extra dime a cup on a $3 drink is not a lot of change to help make a change. But I wish there was a better way to do it.

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