LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Seattle Votes on Expresso Tax
Aired September 2, 2003 - 19:45 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In two weeks America will be watching a vote on West Coast for signs of things to come. No, not California's election, that of course is in October. I'm talking about Seattle's vote on September 16 when residents decide whether to give themselves a new tax. Why you might ask? Like much of America Seattle is strapped for cash. One place they cut back, education, including services for young poor kids. So, child care providers suggested a new tax. Not just any tax mind you. Seattle will be voting on whether to slap a 10 cent tax on any drink containing more than half an ounce of espresso.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
COOPER: If you don't mind paying $2.50 for a latte would you mind shelling out an extra dime?
That's the question Seattle residents face. Some critics of the proposed tax wonder whether it's a sin tax or a luxury tax. If it's sin, why not focus on alcohol. If it's luxury, why not focus on real luxuries. With a tax on Cristal you might think a single P. Diddy Swann can take a class room of kids from pre-K to premed. Seattle doesn't drink of alcohol to make a tax viable. But coffee, it's the mecca of moccachino. Residents sip some 200,000 espressos a day. Still, taxing espresso, isn't that like taxing cheese stakes in Philly or promises in Washington. Seattle's chamber of commerce say education should be funded through the regular budget. The same budget the chamber lobbied to cut last month. Starbucks is part of the grande mocha lobbying effort against the tax. But defeating it may be a tall order. Polls show fans of the tax are in a clear majority. While for those who oppose it, the future looks black. No sugar.
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