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Seattle in a froth over latte tax [US]

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BBC NewsGannett News Service
Publication Date: 
19 Aug 2003

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Among the most controversial proposals in 16 September's local elections is a plan to slap a 10-cent tax on lattes, white chocolate mochas, caramel macchiatos and the other premium coffees the Pacific city is famous for.

The proposal, known as Initiative 77, aims to raise millions of dollars to pay for daycare for low-income children.

But Initiative 77 has run into opposition not just from disgruntled consumers, but from the city's powerful restaurant lobby.

Proponents of Initiative 77 say the logic of their case is overwhelming.

According to fans of the latte tax, it will raise an annual $7m, which will be distributed to daycare providers with 10% or more children from low-income families.

They aim to supplement the salaries of daycare workers, which are often not far above the minimum wage.

They also claim wide public support, having collected the 30,000 signatures needed to put the initiative to the vote.

Opinion among consumers is mixed, with few reckoned likely to change their coffee habits so lightly.

Coffee is big business in Seattle: according to some estimates, the city consumers more than 200,000 shots of espresso every day.

-Reprinted from BBC News.