|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
However, critics of the tax, including many in the
restaurant industry, have dubbed it the ‘fat tax’
and say it unfairly punishes the poor.