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Easy $642 Million Proposed for California Budget

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                                                                       Jorge Castillo (213) 840-3336

Easy $642 Million Proposed for California Budget

Alcohol Justice Releases Report: 
“Time for an Adjustment to California’s Alcohol Excise Tax”

San Rafael, CA (January 9, 2013) – Alcohol Justice presented California Governor Jerry Brown and key state budget leaders with a plan today to adjust current alcohol tax rates to raise an addition $642 million in the next budget year and raise $8.2 billion in State revenue through 2023. The public will also benefit with reduced youth consumption, alcohol-related violence, preventable disease, and traffic fatalities.
“California could raise an easy $642 million starting July 1 with a big inflation adjustment to our spirits taxes, a nickel more on a can of beer and six cents more on a glass of wine,” stated Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director/CEO of Alcohol Justice.
California’s alcohol excise taxes were last adjusted 22 years ago in 1991 under Governor Pete Wilson. Since then, inflation erosion of the tax’s value has cost the State $1.82 billion in lost revenues. Moreover, Alcohol Justice estimates state and local government costs for alcohol-related problems to be $8 billion annually, including healthcare and criminal justice expenses, adding to the state’s economic woes.
“It would be sensible to at least reimburse the state government for the cost of alcohol-related health and public safety services,” said Livingston in his letter to the state’s budget leaders. “It’s common sense to charge for harm; it’s fiscally responsible and long overdue.”
Adjusting California’s alcohol excise tax is a sensible way to address the State’s budget and fair because it places the burden on only those who consume alcohol. For additional information and the full report, please visit The web site also has an Alcohol Tax Calculator to explore alternative options to raise state income from alcohol taxes.
“Every year thousands of lives are cut short or forever damaged due to alcohol,” said Livingston. “The human toll and the economic costs are staggering as alcohol is implicated in 10,000 deaths annually in California. Our low alcohol taxes shrink every year because of inflation, amounting to a growing subsidy of the alcohol industry. Governor Brown, Senator Steinberg and Speaker Pérez could easily adjust the alcohol tax in this year’s budget,” added Livingston.
The Alcohol Justice report released today details an economic analysis of three options for state alcohol tax adjustments—all options include a twenty-year inflation adjustment to spirits taxes and an annual inflation adjustment to tax rates going forward:
  • Option 1 adds $231 million for FY 2013-2014 alone, proposes a one time 20-year-inflation-adjustment
  • Option 2 adds $506 million next year by raising the beer and wine tax equally by $.50 a gallon
  • Option 3 (recommended) adds $641.7 million by raising the beer tax $.50 a gallon (a nickel a beer) and equalizes wine to that level of alcohol by volume tax (adding $.06 a glass of wine)
To send a letter of support for an alcohol excise tax adjustment to the Governor and key legislative leaders go to: The Alcohol Justice Grassroots Action Center. Alcohol Justice is a 25 year-old alcohol industry watchdog based in Marin County, California.