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Watchdog maps show neglect of beer taxes

Posted: March 29, 2010 11:45 a.m.
Updated: March 30, 2010 4:00 p.m.
 
SAN FRANCISCO -- With colored-coded maps published online today, Marin Institute illustrates how inflation has decreased the value of low beer taxes, while state budget shortfalls have exploded.

"Amazingly, six states have not raised beer taxes in more than fifty years," stated Marin Institute's Research and Policy Director Michele Simon. "More than half the states have not raised beer excise taxes in at least two decades. Legislators are ignoring a lot of revenue their states could use right now."

The alcohol industry watchdog calls their new maps tool Neglected and Outdated State Beer Taxes. It compares for each the number of years since last tax increase and the real value decline due to not keeping up with inflation.

Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming have not passed a beer tax increase in 50 years or more. Astonishingly, in 47 states, the decrease in real value of the current beer tax (due to inflation) ranges from 25 percent to over 75 percent. Included with the maps is a handy table that chronicles all the data state-by-state including current beer tax rates.

"This is graphic proof that Big Alcohol lobbying efforts are extremely effective at preventing sound public policy and balanced state budgets," said Michael Scippa, advocacy director at Marin Institute. "Their well-funded influence peddling is especially effective when coupled with generous campaign contributions."

"We hope state legislatures and governors looking for alternatives to draconian cuts to budgets and services will use this data," Simon added."Then enact long-overdue increases to beer taxes and index them to inflation to prevent future losses."

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