|May 10, 2005, as reported
by just-food.com: Detroit is proposing a new tax to raise
money and reduce the city’s growing waistlines—well, mainly
just raise money.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has announced his plan to levy a
2 percent ‘fastfood tax’ on burgers, pizza, hot dogs
and other take-out items.
The proceeds generated by the tax will be used to help Detroit
close in on its $300m operating deficit. The tax could also have
the added health benefit of helping the city slow its collective
weight gain—Men’s Health magazine labeled it America's
fattest city in 2004—but the mayor’s office is stressing
this is not the point.
"We always hope that Detroit citizens will become a little
bit healthier in one way or another," said James Canning, a
spokesman for Mayor Kilpatrick. "However, the purpose of this
is to generate revenue first and foremost."
While lack of revenue is definitely a problem, Detroit's city council
has a deficit of more than $300m, it is also facing a potential
obesity crisis. Men's Health magazine labeled it America's fattest
city in 2004.
The Mayor has not yet defined what constitutes a fastfood restaurant
although his spokesman said it was likely to include any outlet
where people pay for their food in advance.
However, critics of the tax, including many in the restaurant industry,
have dubbed it the ‘fat tax’ and say it unfairly punishes