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:

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
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.
Sponsor
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

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 Students Displaced by PCBs to Get New High School as a Bond Measure Passes
Demolition begins soon on the old high school in Burlington, Vt., shut down in 2020 after harmful levels of a toxic chemical were found.
3 min read
The entrance to Burlington High School in Burlington, Vt., on Sept. 19, 2022. The school has been closed due to the discovery of high levels of PCBs.
Burlington High School in Burlington, Vt., was closed after the discovery of high levels of PCBs.
Luke Awtry for Education Week
Budget & Finance Teacher Requests on DonorsChoose Spike for SEL and Mental Health Resources
Educators are asking for class resources to help improve students' mental health and foster SEL skills like creativity and collaboration.
2 min read
Special education teacher assisting a diverse group of elementary students in art class.
E+/Getty
Budget & Finance Opinion 6 Ways to Solve the Teacher Shortage With Federal Stimulus Money
ESSER funds can help districts do something extra for teachers, writes a school finance expert.
Erin Covington
4 min read
illustration of a person being prevented from leaving by a large magnet's pull.
Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty
Budget & Finance District Leaders Want More Time to Spend ESSER Funds as Plans Go Astray
Orders aren't arriving on time. Hiring is hard. Chief financial officers want the feds to relieve the pressure.
4 min read
Illustration of money, time, and a timer.
uniquepixel/iStock/Getty