Alcohol Tax to Fund Treatment
Just weeks after finally
reaching agreement on a 2008-09 state
budget (and just two days after the
state went to the polls), the governor
proposed an ambitious plan to keep
the state afloat. The plan combines
spending cuts and tax increases –
including an increase in excise taxes
on alcoholic beverages.
The tax, which works out to a nickel
a drink (1.5 ounces of spirits,
12 ounces of beer, or 5 ounces of
wine), would take effect January
1, 2009. This tax would be expected
to generate $293 million in 2008-09
and $585 million in 2009-10.
Although not dedicated for treatment,
the governor’s office has
said it “proposes” using
the revenue for drug and alcohol
abuse treatment and prevention programs.
Treatment advocates have been warned
that, without this tax, funding
for alcohol and drug treatment could
receive virtually no state funding
this budget year. That would force
counties to shoulder the burden,
which would inevitably lead to interrupted
services and lengthy – and
costly – litigation battles.