January 11, 2010

Beer Me!

As seen in today's San Jose Mercury News, a California initiative having been attempted on several fronts, and supported by an overwhelming majority of the State's voters, would impose a tax on the sale of alcoholic beverages on a volume basis. Basically, the proponents of this tax are looking at a per "drink" tax of up to $0.10, so a 12oz beer, a 6oz glass of wine or a single shot of 40 proof liquor would cost $0.10 more after the imposition. That is, of course, if its allowed to pass.

So how could a tax increase that is supposedly supported by 85% of the voters in California and attempted by the Governator himself not be part of our beloved laws here? Well, the answer lies in the ability for the Liquor Lobby to buy off opposing votes to this sort of legislation. Basically, the initiatives akin to this that have been introduced in the past have fallen on their sword before they even made it to committee due to assembly members in Sacramento not being willing to vote for it because the business partners they have in the Liquor Lobby oppose it. Neat, huh?

Now, I don't know much more than what was in the article, but it would seem to me to be a beneficial tax increase. I'm conservative to the bone, but I also know the toll alcohol abuse takes on those who are directly and indirectly affected by it. If legislation was put in place that forced revenue generated by a tax of this sort to be spent ONLY on programs that directly benefit those affected by alcohol abuse then I would support it.  I should also note that after a decade of being an avid beer and scotch connoisseur I have quit drinking. I guess my opinion on this subject should count, taking this into consideration, but having spent the majority of my adult life as a sailor, with the drunken stigma that is associated with that lifestyle, a tax of this sort has been felt by me as it exists in other states and in the other countries I've visited, and it wasn't a deterrent to my partaking of the drink. Take that as you will.

Unfortunately, with California's representatives being who they are morally, that won't happen. They'll dip into every dollar that hits the coffers because they don't see a reason to segregate pots of money based on the laws that created them. Its all the same money, right?

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