Nearly 250 years after the Boston Tea Party, we could have a Salem Coffee Party on our hands. The Oregon Legislature is weighing a tax of 5 cents per pound on wholesale coffee, including coffee beans and ground coffee. KOIN reports that no revenue projection was given in House Bill 2875, but the Willamette Week's math suggests it could bring in about $2 million a year. (The state's budget gap stands at $1.8 billion.) The money would be earmarked for the Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program, alternative high school programs, and primary school reading programs.
Willamette Week sees a disconnect there, reporting that lawmakers typically try to "establish a clear connection" between the tax and what the revenue will do, like property taxes paid by homeowners covering fire services. "The relationship between coffee consumption and alternative education is less clear," it writes. That said, the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2018, if it receives a three-fifths majority in the state House and Senate. A rep for House Republicans says "a tax on coffee is clearly not a proposal Oregonians would support, and we hope Democrats will disavow it just as quickly as they introduced it." (Read more Oregon stories.)