Utah Rep. Draxler's Beer Tax Inflation Bill to Fund Prevention Programs

Utah Beer Tax Erosion

The value of Utah's state beer excise tax has
eroded 24% since it was last raised in 2003.

Utah Rep. Jack Draxler (R-North Logan) has proposed to index the state's wholesale beer tax to inflation, using the additional revenue to fund programs to prevent underage and binge drinking. Utah's beer excise tax was last raised in 2003, and its real value has fallen 24% since then. Under Draxler's proposal, the average beer drinker in Utah would pay less than $0.30 more per year, but the tax adjustment would net an additional $530,000 to pay for prevention programs.

The bill needs the support of the Health and Human Services Interim Committee on October 16 in order to move forward.To view a list of representatives on the committee and send a letter of support, click here.


Distilled Spirits Spends Big to Kill Alcohol Tax Increases

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The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States leads the Big Alcohol lobby in fighting state and local alcohol tax initiatives, using big bucks and formidable lobbying clout to push legislators into defeating 335 out of 364 tax increases since 2001, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. In 2012 alone, the industry spent $16 million in contributions to political candidates. Their tactics include framing the initiatives as hospitality taxes and unsubstantiated claims that alcohol taxes, often mere pennies per drink, hurt job creation.

While the industry spin doctors paint a hospitable facade, the facts say otherwise. Excise taxes help reduce excessive alcohol consumption, and offset the staggering cost of alcohol-related harm in the U.S. Taxpayers bear the costs of excessive alcohol consumption, including crime, disease, and injuries. The part of these costs borne directly by federal, state and local governments adds up to $94 billion annually, or $0.80 per drink. Federal, state and local excise taxes combined only add up to about $0.15 per drink - so taxpayers pick up the tab for the rest.

The big bucks spent by DISCUS and alcohol lobbyists have clearly produced a huge return on their investment. So far they've managed to dupe some taxpayers and legislators into subsidizing their harmful product. The good news is that states continue to propose tax increases, despite facing the Goliath lobby--nine states have already considered tax increases this year. Click to read more about how excise taxes reduce alcohol-related harm and countering industry rhetoric about alcohol taxes.

State Appeals Court: No Alcohol in California Self-Checkout Lines


Despite an appeal by the California Grocers Association, a state appeals court has upheld a 2012 law banning alcohol sales at customer-operated checkout stands, whose safeguards against underage purchases are unreliable. The ruling states that alcohol may only be purchased in face-to-face transactions with store clerks, and will help keep alcohol, the number one drug of choice among America’s youth, out of their hands.

Public Health Counters Privatization's Empty Promises

State Liquor Store


Despite the influence of the behemoth alcohol industry and the millions of lobbying dollars it's spent in Pennsylvania over the years, attempts to privatize state liquor sales have not succeeded. Though they might have to shout louder to be heard over the industry din, researchers separate from the alcohol PR machine give voice to the state’s public health and safety concerns.