The Detroit Free Press reported yesterday that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has charged more than $210,000 to his city-issued credit cards in less than three years — often spending hundreds of dollars at upscale restaurants. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with fine dining. But while he uses taxpayer dollars to finance these escapades, the mayor has proposed a two-percent fast-food tax.
Unsurprisingly, columnists and consumers have found the mayor’s proposal tough to swallow. One city resident denounced Kilpatrick’s plan as “ludicrous,” saying: “He’s the hip-hop mayor, and he wants a 2 percent tax on cheeseburgers? It’s not going to happen.” Another resident scoffed: “They can find other things to tax besides fast food. I mean, give me a break.” And, as one letter to the editor of The Detroit News notes:
The “fast food” tax proposed by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick should be cause for concern and not just because it unfairly targets low-income people … If Detroit adopts a fast food tax, it won’t be long before it would be implemented statewide and expanded to include candy, snacks, ice cream, and other foods the do-gooders don’t think we should have.
Meanwhile, Detroit News columnist Laura Berman writes:
In Detroit, where fast food restaurants are among the city’s more visible and viable businesses, the constituency for a sin tax on fast food is two vegans from PETA. Do you really want to tax the fast food consumers who are strapped for time and money …
It seems the only folks who might like the mayor’s tax are diet dictators, who look to tax, regulate, and litigate away our food choices.