States consider raising alcohol taxes

According to, proposals for increasing alcohol taxes are on the table in more than a dozen states as part of their budget proposals. Higher alcohol taxes have proven to reduce problem drinking, including underage drinking. (See March 26 post below.)

Here's an excerpt from the article:

Advocates might like to believe that their arguments about the public-health benefits of raising the price of alcoholic beverages are finally getting through to policymakers. "People see this mostly as a revenue source; however, some are talking about the health arguments," said CSPI's Hacker.

Practicality also may be playing a role, he added: "It might be occurring to legislators that there's not much more they can squeeze out of tobacco." Many states -- including those where the tobacco industry has traditionally held sway -- have hiked tobacco taxes to raise badly needed revenues. Until very recently, however, corresponding hikes in "sin taxes" on alcohol have been quite rare.

"Twenty-five states haven't raised their alcohol taxes in 20 years," according to Hacker. "It is a source of revenue for states that has been long overlooked, and there's a substantial evidence base suggesting that higher prices and taxes will reduce alcohol-related harms and costs. And, it is a natural source of funding for alcohol and other drug treatment and prevention."

Recent research reviews led by Alexander Wagenaar, Ph.D., and published in the American Journal of Public Health concluded that raising alcohol taxes cuts alcohol consumption and is among the most effective way to reduce alcohol-related disease mortality.