Today the California Assembly’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Select Committee holds a special hearing at the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. One of the ideas Select Committee Members will discuss is raising taxes on alcohol to help pay for alcohol-related accidents, emergency medical and trauma care, treatment programs, and law enforcement costs.
The levy would amount to about 10 cents a drink and raise $1.4 billion dollars in new revenue. The initiative has been championed by Assemblyman Jim Beall, Jr. of San Jose.
The state has increased tobacco taxes because smoking is recognized as a serious health hazard. But the Legislature has not hiked alcohol fees despite the fact that on average one person is killed or injured every 16 minutes in alcohol-related accidents on our streets and highways.
At a time when California is contemplating eliminating welfare and Cal Grants and denying in-home care to hundreds of thousands of our disabled and elderly, we have an opportunity to raise $1.4 billion in new revenue by raising alcohol fees.
Please read today’s column by Patti Fisher of the San Jose Mercury News about the proposed alcohol tax and contact your elected state representative about the importance of supporting this budget solution.