Budget & Finance

Ed. Advocates Brew Support For Seattle Espresso Tax

By Linda Jacobson — September 10, 2003 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Early-childhood-education advocates in Seattle, the home of the Starbucks Coffee Corp., are hoping to tap espresso as a source of revenue for preschool programs.

Voters in the 570,000-resident city will decide next week whether to approve a 10-cent tax on espresso and other specialty coffee drinks to be used for expanding prekindergarten programs and providing more low-income families with child-care subsidies.

The tax could bring in more than $6 million a year, organizers of the Sept. 16 ballot measure predict. If Initiative 77 passes, a portion of the proceeds would also be used to create a program to reward both center- and home-based child-care providers with higher pay if they earn more education.

Supporters say they are fighting an uphill battle against the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and others who argue that the tax would hurt businesses.

“This is basically a grassroots campaign,” said Laura Paskin, a spokeswoman for the Economic Opportunity Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Seattle and one of the sponsors of the initiative.

The tax would cover drinks such as lattes, mochas, and similar menu items, but would not apply to regular drip coffee. And businesses earning less than $50,000 annually in gross receipts would not be subject to the tax.

Opponents say that such a levy would set a bad pattern.

In a statement, the chamber of commerce said: “Instituting this type of specialty tax unrelated to the program it would fund could set precedence for other specialty taxes, resulting in a tax system where citizens pay different tax rates depending on the products they buy, the services they use, or the businesses they frequent.”

Randy Pepple, a spokesman for JOLT, which stands for Joined in Opposition to the Latte Tax, added that opponents of the proposal are not against improving early-childhood programs.

“Child care is far too important an issue to depend on a specialty tax like this,” Mr. Pepple said.

Related Tags:


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Budget & Finance Most Districts Say They Don't Need More Time to Spend ESSER Dollars
Only 13 percent of districts surveyed by ASBO International said they plan to seek approval to spend the federal aid past the deadline.
2 min read
Roll of dollar banknotes with colored pencils on the shelf.
iStock/Getty Images
Budget & Finance 2023 in School Finance: Legal Fights, School Choice Debates, Persistent Inequities
Highlights of the year in school finance coverage include school funding lawsuits, private school choice legislation, and the looming financial storms brewing.
6 min read
Conceptual illustration of business people, a roll of paper, and the people using computers, a magnifying glass and telescope with the year 2023 as a shadow below them.
Liz Yap/Education Week and iStock/ Getty.
Budget & Finance Bus Contracts: The Pros and Cons for School Districts Outsourcing Transportation
Districts see more predictable costs and get valuable expertise, but high costs send some back to an in-house model.
1 min read
Buses parked covered with snow
Budget & Finance From Our Research Center When ESSER Funds Are Gone, Here's Where Districts May Turn to Fill Gaps
Districts will look to a range of funding sources to cover the services they've paid for in recent years with a surge of federal money.
4 min read
tight crop of sand running through an hour glass with a blurred photo of Benjamin Franklin in the background