Seattle, Washington (AP) — A possible espresso tax here is creating a tempest in a coffee cup. In just a couple weeks, voters in this city will decide whether to impose a dime-a-cup tax on espresso drinks to raise money for preschool and day-care programs.
“It’s a dime. It’s nothing. It’s just a dime for kids,” said John Burbank, executive director of the nonprofit Economic Opportunity Institute, which came up with the idea.
“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.
The tax would not affect plain old diner coffee — just “any beverage prepared for immediate consumption containing half an ounce or more of espresso regardless of caffeine content, whether served hot or cold.”
Supporters figure all those dimes would add up to $7 million to $10 million a year or more in revenue to subsidize day cares and preschools.
City budget analysts disputed those numbers last year, saying the revenue would be $1.8 million to $3 million.
Businesses with gross annual sales of less than $50,000 would be exempt.