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Lawmakers Want to Impose a Coffee Tax

The U.S. fought tooth and nail against the British empire over a tea tax 250 years ago. Who knows what lengths Americans will go to fight a coffee tax in 2017.

Gigen Mammoser

Photo via Flickr user McKay Savage

The United States of America fought tooth and nail against the British empire over a tea tax 250 years ago. Who knows what lengths Americans will go to fight a coffee tax in 2017.

The Oregon state legislature will very soon find out, with a newly proposed bill that would impose a 5 cent tax on every pound of wholesale coffee sold in the state, reports local news station KOIN. House Bill 2875, sponsored by the Oregon House Committee on Revenue, would use the additional funds for several programs, including the Oregon Military Department, primary school reading programs, and alternative high school programs.

The popularity of coffee in America, and throughout the world, makes it a tantalizing commodity to increase revenue for local or federal governments. Americans spend $40 billion on coffee every year and, Forbes reports, "that works out to over $3.6 million in sales tax alone." A state-wide tax like the one proposed in Oregon might then be helpful.

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Or not.

The Portland-based Willamette Week argues that (with an admittedly "rough calculation") that such a tax would likely only raise about $2 million per year—a drop in the bucket for lawmakers hoping to rectify the state's 1.8 billion budget gap.

READ MORE: How Britain's Tax Laws Are Hurting the UK's Craft Beer Scene

Members of the Oregon House of Representatives did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Whether or not the bill passes, Oregon politicians could be the ones in hot water.