More and more states are considering higher alcohol taxes after years of raising cigarette rates.
This year, Kentucky and Washington state hiked their liquor tariffs. Montana, Indiana and North Dakota rejected higher beer taxes.
Texas is still considering an increase, which would go to help pay for public schools. And Ohio lawmakers must decide what they're going to do before the new fiscal year starts July 1.
Now we at the ALA can understand things like gas taxes going up to support highway repairs, or even property taxes going up to support schools (as long as the money's not wasted). In those cases, the tax increase is related to the service provided. But here, as with cigarette taxes, it's just taxing the minority because they can't fight back.
Excise taxes, sometimes called sin taxes, are a more palatable way to raise revenue for states than a broader tax, said Bert Waisanen, fiscal analyst for the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.
Part of the reason is the moral message. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based nonprofit, contends that hiking alcohol taxes is a good way to fight alcohol abuse.
"Tens of millions of dollars a year already are spent marketing alcoholic beverages to underage consumers," George Hacker, director of the center's Alcohol Policies Project, said in a statement posted on the center's Web site. "Lower taxes and lower prices will only further entice young people to drink."
"Moral message," my pasty white ass. The neo-Puritans who would turn our country into a place fit only for children should be stopped dead in their tracks. Don't let them splinter the smokers from the drinkers from the gamblers. Sinners of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your persecution.