Seattle socialists want to tax coffee : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread June 1, 2002


Coffee targeted as Seattle tax source Child-care advocates push for 10-cent tax

Starbucks employee Heather Viall scoops coffee beans for a customer's order while manager Geral Kyle, left, chats with another customer at Starbucks Coffee Co.'s original store at Pike Place Market in Seattle.


SEATTLE, June 1 — A proposed tax could hit Seattleites where it really hurts: their coffee mugs. A group of child-care advocates, seeking more money for early education, filed an initiative Friday that would place a 10-cent city tax on Seattle’s lifeblood - espresso drinks.

‘Coffee, in a way, it’s kind of a luxury item. As long as the money went to the programs it was supposed to, I would support it.’ — PATTY GRAZINI

BUT IN Seattle, where voters have already voted to tax tobacco, meals and hotel rooms, among other things, initial word of the proposal caused barely a jolt among the area’s latte lovers.

“Coffee, in a way, it’s kind of a luxury item,” said Patty Grazini, who frequents the Diva Espresso Bar in Seattle’s Greenwood district. “As long as the money went to the programs it was supposed to, I would support it.”

The Early Learning and Care Committee, which is made up of parents, teachers and child-care directors, expects the tax would raise $7 million to $10 million a year in this coffee-addicted city.

The money would be used to increase wages for child-care teachers, help low- and middle-income families obtain quality child care and increase the amount of high-quality care available in Seattle, said Lisa Moy, campaign manager of the initiative.

The committee has until early August to collect the 17,228 valid signatures needed to get the initiative on November’s ballot.

Melissa Petersen, barista at Diva Espresso, wasn’t so sure the initiative was a good idea. Another 10 cents is a lot to ask for a drink that already can cost $3 to $4, she said.

“They’ve got a smoking tax, regular taxes, why not a yuppie tax?” Petersen said sarcastically.


Grazini, 50, averages about two cappuccinos a day and has no problem flipping the bistro an extra couple of dimes. The tax would bring the cost of her daily caffeine dosage to about $4.20, or an additional $73 a year. Under the plan, drip coffee would not be taxed.

Moy said taxing espresso drinks is a guaranteed source of income in Seattle, where many residents can’t get through the day without a caffeine hit.

“We know that the city of Seattle voters are dedicated to their children,” Moy said. “This is one way they can enable children more access to quality pre-kindergarten care.” Since the tax would apply to businesses that gross more than $50,000 annually, Moy said Starbucks and Tully’s Coffee — Seattle’s main coffee purveyors — have been informed of the group’s plan.

In a prepared statement, Starbucks said the company did not understand why the group “would recommend an additional consumer tax on espresso beverages, or any other single consumer product, to fund this initiative.” Company spokeswoman Audrey Lincoff would not comment further.

The tax would do little to affect business at Diva Espresso’s four locations in Seattle, manager Stephen Johnson said.

“Regular customers would initially notice, but they would adapt to it very readily,” Johnson said. “I think coffee’s a pretty strong drug. People need their caffeine.”

-- (, June 01, 2002


Yeah, soak the yuppies. They're so guilt-ridden that they'll thank you.

-- (, June 01, 2002.

"Another 10 cents is a lot to ask for a drink that already can cost $3 to $4, she said."

She is not too bright is she? If someone can afford to routinely pay $4 a cup for espressos, they aren't going to give a crap about another dime. I say soak the yuppies, they're the ones having all the kids anyway. Make it a 50% tax, or $2 on a $4 cup. This will also help them to break a bad habit and quit being such aggressive asswipes.

-- (soak@yuppie.bastards), June 01, 2002.

Cynical, cynical. Another example of the government taxing addictive behavior. The government will now have a vested interest in caffeine addiction.

In some cases the government even sponsors the addictive behavior. Lotto, anyone? (Dirty little secret: government sponsored gambling is a highly regressive tax. Shhhhh!)

-- (soak@the.poor), June 01, 2002.

The people of Seattle love to be taxed. They will probably vote against this one because 10 cents is not nearly enough.

-- Seattle Voters (, June 01, 2002.

They only propose taxing espresso, not traditional coffee.

-- @@@@@at sign@@@@@ (@@@.@), June 01, 2002.

They should add a 10 cents on a drink in Texas, that way a couple of people in the Bush family would have to pay taxes.

The price of Lattes have gone up over the years anyway, this would be no big deal, and it would help the working poor, like the young mothers who are kicked off of welfare when their babies are 1 month old.

Besides, there is a little known secret outside of Seattle, we all own our own espresso machines, and only buy the drinks when we are away from home.

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), June 01, 2002.

Coffee addicts: Please get help before it is too late! If you need support we are here to help.

-- (Mr Coffee@java.jive), June 01, 2002.

A latte a day keeps the pollies away.

-- (, June 01, 2002.

Get your PB2 preps here!

-- stan fargya (14@days.preps), June 02, 2002.

In a moment of supreme compassion, the city fathers have exempted coffee enemas from the proposed tax.

-- (, June 02, 2002.

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