Will Lowering Alcohol Taxes Increase Consumption Rates?

raleigh drug and alcohol treatment centerEach year 88,000 Americans die as a result of excessive alcohol use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define excessive alcohol use as any alcohol used by someone under the age of 21, alcohol used by a pregnant woman, women who consume more than eight drinks per week, or men who consume more than 15 drinks on a weekly basis. Binge drinking, women who consume more than four drinks in one occasion, or men who drink more than five drinks at one time are also considered excessive alcohol use. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States after obesity and smoking. So why would the Senate propose cutting federal alcohol excise tax by 16%, making it cheaper for people to drink? If you're searching for the best Raleigh drug and alcohol treatment center in 2018, contact the pros at Legacy. We want to help you get sober.

The alcohol industry has been lobbying for these cuts for years. There have been no increases in these taxes at the federal level since 1991. Before then the rate on the national alcohol tax was regularly increased. State taxes on alcohol are separate from federal taxes allowing states to raise or lower their tax rates on alcohol at will. While many Americans will see cheaper alcohol prices as a good thing, the opponents of this tax cut don't share their enthusiasm. Adam Looney, senior fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings Institute and expert on U.S. tax policy, has analyzed the impact that a reduction in the alcohol tax would have on the number of deaths. Looney estimates that an additional 1,550 deaths will occur annually because of these tax cuts. He believes that increasing the alcohol tax is the answer to preventing these additional deaths each year.

Public policy expert Phillip Cook agrees. Cook believes that restoring or raising taxes returns the value these alcohol taxes had over two decades ago. He also believes that those who drink should pay for the damage they do. The CDC estimates that excessive drinking costs the economy 249 billion dollars in 2010. Congress is taking the opposite route and proposing tax cuts that would make significant changes to the way liquor, wine, and beer are taxed. These proposed tax cuts would last through 2019 and include:

A tiered system for taxing liquor or distilled spirits. The new tax rate would be $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 gallons produced or imported. For producing or importing more than 100,000 gallons and up to 22.1 million gallons, the new rate would tax at $13.34 per proof gallon. Beyond 22.1 million gallons, the current tax rate of $13.50 would remain in effect.

Per-barrel tax for beer would also be significantly reduced. The first 6 million barrels that are produced or imported are currently taxed at $18 per barrel. However, under the new tax cut, that price would drop to $16 per barrel up to 6 million. After that, the rate would return to $18 per barrel. Craft and domestic breweries will see a significant drop in their per barrel price from $7 per barrel up to 60,000 barrels down to just $3.50 for the first 60,000 barrels. Any barrels above 60,000 will be taxed at $16.

In addition to these significant tax decreases, the proposed cuts also eliminate some regulations on alcohol and give those who produce wine greater access to a tax credit. Critics of the cuts also point out that it allows large and foreign producers to qualify for lower rates and divide production among multiple labels to avoid paying the higher tax rates.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees with Cook and Looney that Congress should consider raising the alcohol taxes in order to generate over 70.4 billion dollars for the federal government over the next ten years. By leveling taxes between different types of beverages, you eliminate the significant disparities between the kinds of alcohol. Removing the exemptions and tax credits would also help level the playing field for all producers across the board. The tax increase would raise the price of alcohol and possibly help save lives.

An increase in the price of alcohol would make it more expensive for people to drink to excess. With fewer people getting drunk, the number of negative health effects and social impacts dramatically decreases. Researchers found that increasing the tax would cause approximately a ten percent price increase for a case of beer or bottle of wine or liquor. As a result of this increase, the death rate related to excessive alcohol use is estimated to drop by anywhere from 9 to 25%. Approximately 2,000 to 6,000 deaths could be avoided each year. These numbers are significant and would also impact the number of deaths related to car crashes, violent crime, and domestic violence. Other health impacts that might be seen with an increased alcohol tax include a reduced rate of sexually transmitted diseases and underage consumption. While raising the alcohol tax won't deter everyone from drinking to excess it can undoubtedly make it cost prohibitive for some to overindulge regularly.

Searching for a Raleigh Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in 2018

Do you struggle with regularly drinking to excess? Has your health or financial well-being been impacted by your alcohol use? If you answered yes to these questions, it's time to call Legacy Freedom. We have helped thousands of people who were addicted to alcohol overcome their addiction and lead sober and purpose-filled lives. We believe in a holistic approach to your addiction recovery, not a twelve step process. We treat the whole person, not just your addiction. Each client is paired with a Life-Purpose coach who can help you identify goals and passions that have been long forgotten as a result of your addiction. Together with your Life-Purpose coach you will also create a care plan tailored to meet your needs and interests. Legacy Freedom offers more than ten different types of alternative therapies combined with nutritional support, physical therapy, and talk therapy at our Raleigh drug and alcohol treatment center.

Stop letting your addiction to alcohol control your life, your health, and your finances. Call or click to connect with our care team today and begin your journey towards living a sober and purpose-filled life with Legacy Freedom!

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