A month ago, President Trump signed the Tax Cut and Jobs Act into law.
As with many major reforms, there are winners and losers. One of the lesser-known winners are the beer, spirits, and wine producers, who will get a two-year tax cut worth $4.2 billion dollars.
This reduction in the federal alcohol excise tax has been called a “public health disaster.” That’s because the “losers” are our own communities—the parents, youth, and concerned citizens, who will feel the unintended consequences of these cuts.
Those unintended consequences come in the form of increased alcohol consumption, higher rates of alcohol-related accidents and injuries, and various economic costs related to drinking. They also mean greater loss of life. Already, approximately 88,000 preventable deaths each year are linked to alcohol, and that number could go up under this new tax law.
Going in the wrong direction
Increasing excise taxes is not only good for public health; it’s good for our pocketbooks. A dime-a-drink tax increase would generate more than $700 million in Texas alone, while curbing teen drinking, impaired driving, and other consequences of alcohol consumption.
Although “increasing taxes” can be politically unpopular, it turns out that most voters approve the idea of higher taxes on luxury products like alcohol. They also want the revenue to go to public education and public safety—something we at Texans Standing Tall can fully endorse. (Already, one-quarter of excise taxes go to public education funding—which means cuts to excise taxes equal cuts to public education funding.)
Under the new law, tax cuts to the alcohol industry will be in effect for two years, but it’s possible they might be extended unless we get involved.
That’s why it’s important for communities to speak out, in whatever form you can: call your congressman, attend a Town Hall, write an email, and share your concerns with your friends, family, and social media networks.
As a part of our efforts to help shape a healthier future in which underage alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use have no place, Texans Standing Tall remains committed to supporting measures that keep us moving in the right direction. We think it’s time for change – how about you?