State Tax on Alcohol

What "Stiff 'Nickel-a-Drink' Tax on Alcohol Proposed by Coalition" (Part A, Nov. 10) neglected to point out were the measly amounts of yearly revenue to California our decades-old booze taxes provide. In 1988-89, wine brought in $922,000! Its 52-year-old tax--the nation's lowest--has been frozen at 1 penny per gallon!

Beer brought in $26,835,000 but, beer alone comprises a whopping 81% of all booze gallons bought statewide. That is why the booze merchants' own, proposed rival ballot initiative for November, 1990, which would up our beer tax from 4 pennies to 20 cents per gallon, is an insult to the voter's intelligence.

Can you just imagine what will happen to trauma and emergency care when "the Big One" comes and local government was denied the yearly 25% (a modest $200 million) from the health and safety coalition's alcohol-tax statewide initiative for November, 1990? It's high time the thinking taxpayer saw the bottom line after reading Gov. George Deukmejian's lips.

No new taxes are needed--only a reasonable surtax readjustment for inflation and health and safety's sake from hitherto untouchable taxes on our most common drug of violence. After all, barely 14% of the drinkers drink 74% of the booze. Let the heavy user beware!

RAY CHAVIRA

Availability Committee Chairman

Los Angeles County

Alcohol Policy Coalition

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