Alcohol Tax Unanimously Tabled
The House Taxation and Revenue Committee Unanimously Tabled House Bill 230, Liquor Tax Rates and Differential.
HB 230 would have raised the alcohol tax for producers to 25 cents per serving, an increase of over 600% when compared to the standing excise tax for beer.
The Bill was attempting to create the Alcohol Harm Alleviation fund, that would have supported programs and education for those struggling with alcohol abuse and those affected by alcohol.
New Mexico has the highest alcohol-related deaths in the nation.
The expert witness for HB 230, Dr. Laura Tomedi, who serves as Epidemiology faculty for the University of New Mexico, said that increasing the tax is the most effective way to reduce harm and consumption.
“According to the World Health Organization alcohol taxes are the most effective and most cost effective way to reduce and prevent alcohol problems. We estimated that it will lead to a roughly 7% drop in consumption, this is crucial in seeing reduces to harm.”
Representative Jason Harper doesn’t think this tax will reduce alcohol consumption.
“I respectfully disagree that this tax will actually decrease consumption by 7%, what I think it's going to do is change behavior.”
Representative Cynthia Borrego is concerned about the effect of further ostracization of those addicted.
“I’m very concerned about penalizing addicts, people who have addiction problems, especially alcohol addiction.”
New Mexico has not raised the tax on alcohol for 30 years and remains in the top 15 states with the highest alcohol taxes.