Progressives have again proved that they are the biggest hypocrites in America by giving a tax exemption to one of their biggest supporters.
Last year, the far left city of Seattle decided it was going to impose a sugary beverage tax to punish people, and companies, who choose to partake in, or manufacture, sweetened beverages.
But it managed to carve out a niche for one of its biggest supporters, Starbucks, and the elites who frequent its establishments, the Seattle Times reported.
Despite the 42 grams of sugar in a Venti Caramel Macchiato and the 68 grams of sugar in a Venti size Caramel Brulée Latte with whipped cream, the coffee giant is virtually exempt from the tax.
That is because the crafters of the tax conveniently added that it does not apply to a beverage that lists milk as its first ingredient, according to the Times.
That rules out taxes for chocolate milk and eggnog, obviously. But some coffee-shop drinks also will be spared, said Mark Watterson of Seattle’s Finance and Administrative Services Department, which drew up rules for the tax. Flavored lattes at Starbucks list milk as their primary ingredient.
The picture was less clear earlier this year, when the City Council was considering the tax proposed by then-Mayor Ed Murray.
The mayor’s office insisted beverage syrups used by coffee shops would be taxed at the point of distribution — 1.75 cents for each ounce of beverage the syrups end up being part of.
But now that the law, that went into effect on Jan. 1, is in effect, there is a carve out for the syrup too.
Distributors must pay a tax for every bottle of syrup sold to a coffee shop but, if the shop signs a statement swearing that some of the bottles are used to make milk based drinks, the distributor will get a break on the taxes.
And what about those sugar-high-inducing blended beverages, like the flavored Frappuccino drinks that Starbucks sells?
Like lattes, Frappuccino drinks include milk. But their first ingredient is ice, so the tax should apply. Watterson didn’t want to comment on specific products, but he confirmed that ice counts as an ingredient.
Starbucks, whose base headquarters is in the Emerald City, is still not happy about the tax.
“We know the impact will go beyond ready-to-drink beverages to hand-crafted beverages,” Sanja Gould, a spokeswoman for Starbucks, said when the bill was passed. “A frappuccino would be affected. Iced tea would be affected. Iced coffee would be affected if it has a sweetener.”
“We are concerned about the harmful economic impact this measure will have on the hundreds of Seattle’s coffee shops, beyond just Starbucks, and their customers,” another spokesman, Reggie Borges, said last week in an email to the Times.
And Starbucks isn’t the only beverage maker angry about the new tax.
“It’s targeting and vilifying one industry to appear to look like you’re trying to solve the obesity issue, but it’s really a revenue grab. If it’s a sugar issue, it should be on all sugar products,” Jennifer Cue, CEO of Jones Soda, said. “I’m disappointed in the city of Seattle. That’s just following other cities and it’s not innovative. Seattle is an innovative city that can do much better.”
Interestingly, the tax targets a major Democrat voting block, minorities and the poor.
“Young adults, nonwhites, and the low-income in the U.S. drink more regular soda than other Americans,” a Gallup poll from 2017 confirmed.
And, according to The Motley Fool, Starbucks customer base is “urban and affluent, often on-the-go white-collar professionals” that are “educated, with an average age of 42, and average income of $90,000.”
It is a sticky situation for Seattle Democrats who want big government to tell people what they can and cannot have, while also appeasing its rich donors and poor voters.
One way to avoid the issue would be for the government to not police the choices people make.
But Democrats cannot help themselves.