In a 1-2 page policy memo, drawing on the readings and lecture, address issues of policy definition based on the case study: “Starbucks: Opposing a Local Tax to Address Homelessness while Promoting Social Justice.”  Be sure to address the following questions but remember this is a policy memo, so do not list the questions followed by an answer. What problem was to be addressed by the city council action?  How was this defined and what was proposed?  What actions did the city council vote/action spark?  Why and what was the basis for the response?  Was it expected? What other relevant points should be included related to this problem, the action taken, and the two subsequent actions that followed.

You should consider that you are on the staff of one of the city council members that has asked for a memo on these events to help better understand what could have been done better.


Policy Memo

To: [City Council Member]
From: [Your Name]
Date: [Date]
Subject: Analysis of Starbucks’ Opposition to a Local Tax to Address Homelessness

Problem Definition and Proposed Action:
The city council action in question aimed to address the issue of homelessness in the local community by implementing a tax on large businesses, including Starbucks, to fund homeless services and affordable housing initiatives. The problem was defined as the increasing homelessness crisis in the city, exacerbated by a lack of resources and funding for essential services. The proposed action was to impose a tax on businesses with annual revenues exceeding a certain threshold, with the revenue generated earmarked for homelessness prevention and support programs.

City Council Vote and Subsequent Actions:
The city council vote to implement the tax sparked a strong response from Starbucks, which vehemently opposed the measure. The basis for Starbucks’ response was primarily rooted in concerns over the potential financial impact on their business operations and the perceived unfairness of targeting large corporations to address a societal issue. Starbucks argued that they already contributed to the community through various initiatives, including employee volunteer programs and donations to local charities.

In response to Starbucks’ opposition, the city council faced pressure from both supporters and opponents of the tax. Advocates for the tax emphasized the urgent need to address homelessness and argued that large corporations like Starbucks should contribute their fair share to the community. On the other hand, opponents of the tax, including business interests and some members of the public, raised concerns about the potential negative consequences for local businesses and the broader economy.

Analysis and Recommendations:
In hindsight, there are several points worth considering regarding the events surrounding Starbucks’ opposition to the local tax. First, it is essential to recognize the complexities of addressing social issues such as homelessness and the importance of engaging stakeholders in the policymaking process. While the proposed tax aimed to generate much-needed revenue for homelessness services, the lack of consensus and opposition from influential stakeholders like Starbucks hindered its implementation.

Moving forward, city council members may consider alternative approaches to addressing homelessness, such as collaborating with businesses to develop voluntary contributions or exploring innovative funding mechanisms. Additionally, efforts to build public support and consensus around homelessness initiatives are crucial for overcoming opposition and ensuring effective policy implementation. Ultimately, finding common ground and fostering dialogue between stakeholders will be essential for advancing policy solutions that effectively address the complex challenges facing our communities.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions or if you would like to discuss potential strategies for addressing homelessness in our city.

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