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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Increasing Taxes on Wine Not A Healthy Solution

First off, keep in mind that wine is already heavily taxed, yet California lawmakers Assemblyman Jim Beall Jr., D-San Jose, and Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, both want to increase those taxes even more. Increasing the already high “sin” taxes on wine is just not a very healthy idea. And here's why.

On Beall ‘s Web site he states, "The alcohol industry creates devastating problems -- traffic accidents, alcoholism -- and walks away with money stuffed in its pockets while the public -- including non-drinkers -- are left to pay billions for the mess." BUT WAIT ONE MINUTE ASSEMBLYMAN, study after study has shown that wine in moderation is healthy. Literally hundreds of studies have shown that drinking wine lowers heart disease, strokes and some forms of cancer. Studies have even shown that the children of women who drank small amounts of wine while pregnant grew up to have higher IQs. Alcoholics are not about to spend $10 or more to satisfy their addiction when they can get more bang for their buck with hard liquor, so why pick on wine?

DeSaulnier, says he wants to collect the money for an Alcohol Abuse Treatment Program Fund. But the state already has a program and there are many other free programs available. The problem isn’t the need for more programs, the problem is getting people to admit they have a problem and seek help.

If either of those lawmakers were truly concerned with Californian’s and their health they would lower the current taxes on wine, or better yet start a program that encourages more people who currently are not wine drinkers to enjoy a glass or two with dinner each night. Just imagine the savings in health care costs the people of California could reap if 90 percent of the people, instead of the current 10 percent, were enjoying the health benefits imparted by drinking a glass of wine every day. Now that's an idea someone should explore further.



Arthur said...

The problem is that moderate consumption is not the pattern responsible for increased public health problems and attendant costs.

That aside, the increased tax is NOT THAT BAD.

Anonymous said...

Arthur, are you a wine drinker?
Just Curious! You make no sense at all. Do you even know what's the tax rate on wine? G

Arthur said...

I am a wine drinker, wine writer, physician and tax payer.

Current excise tax is about 20-25 cents/gallon (variant with alcohol content). I believe the most recent proposal would raise the retail price of a 750 ml bottle by about a dollar.

While this is a big jump, it is really *not that bad* - considering that California needs revenue.

Charles Shaw costs $2.99 in some states and it sells like hotcakes. The argument that this $1 dollar increase will put a serious dent in sales of wines at any price point is silly.

Anonymous said...

Why not tax wine?? And while they are at it they should tax organic food, fresh water and exercise.