Friday, August 6, 2010
As California struggles to find more money for their dwindling budget they are turning once again to taxing vices. In the past when times have been tough in California things like cigarettes and alcohol always were the first to be hit with higher taxes. The justification for such taxes has always been a little hazy, but one thing is for certain, people who smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol have helped to inject a lot of money into the economy on account of their habits. Financial punishment for one's addictions seems to be a common trend these days, especially now that legalization of marijuana is on the November ballot. Supervisors on a committee in San Francisco are considering a tax on alcohol to help pay for the city's cost of dealing with alcoholics. The new tax has been dubbed the "nickel a drink" fee!
Several other California cities are watching San Francisco closely to see how all this pans out. San Francisco is known for having a very large homeless population, those homeless that drink heavily often need to be hospitalized or go to treatment facilities that are paid for by the city. According to NPR, "the city spends more than $17 million a year to cover the health and human service costs of alcohol abuse". Supervisor John Avalos wants alcohol wholesalers and distributors to compensate for the cost of alcoholism in the city of San Francisco.
Every public service, ranging from the fire department all the way to drug treatments are struggling to fund their efforts. Raising the tax on alcohol could help subsidize the cost of treating alcoholics if implemented correctly and the money is channeled properly. "So this measure is really an effort to be able to stabilize our funding for these services, to deal with over-consumption of alcohol."