How about a 12,675% Tax Increase on Wine?
An initiative that is currently gathering signatures for California's November ballot would, if approved by the voters, increase the tax on a bottle of wine by 12,675%
TWELVE THOUSAND SIX-HUNDRED SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT!!!
How could this possibly be justified? The initiative's sponsors, Josephine and Kent M. Whitney, provide the following reasoning:
(a) Alcohol-related problems cost Californians an estimated
$38.4 billion annually, including the costs of illness and injury, the
criminal justice system, lost productivity, impacts on the welfare
system, trauma and emergency care, and the foster care system.
(If we are going to increase taxes by 12,675% we better do better than "estimated")
(b) Alcohol use also costs California's state and county governments
approximately $8.3 billion annually in increased health care costs,
criminal justice costs, and lost tax revenues, while the income to the
state from alcohol licensing, fees, excise taxes, and sales taxes is
less than $1 billion annually.
(Are the benefits of alcohol sales and consumption to be tallied based only on tax revenue?)
(c) According to the u.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
beer is the most commonly consumed drink by binge drinkers, and 67
percent of binge drinkers are underage. Underage drinkers account for
17.5 percent of all beer consumed annually, spending $22 billion.
(Doesn't this mean we really out to be taxing binge drinkers and underage drinkers?)
(d) Beer accounts for 80 percent of the preferred alcoholic beverages.
(We wine folks need to step it up)
(e) Ninety-seven thousand college-age women are raped or sexually
assaulted each year under circumstances involving the use of alcohol.
Half of all rape victims were intoxicated and half of their attackers
were intoxicated at the time of the attack.
(How is a victim's and attacker's state of inebriation the fault of an inanimate object?)
(f) Alcohol use during pregnancy causes approximately 5,000 children to
be born in California each year with alcohol-related birth defects.
(How is a mother's abuse of alcohol the fault of an inanimate object?)
(g) The cost of services for one person born with fetal alcohol syndrome is over $2 million each year.
(Let's work on educating folks about abusing alcohol while pregnant)
(h) The use of alcohol is associated with an increased incidence of
digestive disease, cancer, neuropsychiatric conditions, cardiovascular
disease, malignant neoplasms, pregnancy-related conditions, fetal
alcohol syndrome, and high risk sex.
(i) One person dies, and there are 533 incidents of violent crime, every hour due to alcohol use in California.
(Really, these crimes would never occur if alcohol were not consumed? Really?)
(j) While the staggering cost of alcohol abuse is borne by all
Californians, 67 percent of the alcohol sold in California is consumed
by only 11 percent of the population.
(While the staggering cost of war is born by all Americans, 100% of war is carrier out by only 1% of the population. Let's tax war.)
(k) The last alcoholic beverage tax increase in California was in 1992.
(Good point! What about a 5% increase?)
(l) An alcoholic beverage tax increase is necessary to mitigate the adverse effects of alcohol use.
(How do we first factor in the positive effects of alcohol—like needing it to appreciate this proposal?)