In a country where about 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year, the latest version of the GOP tax bill could make matters worse. Republican senators are proposing major excise tax reductions for liquor, beers and wine, including a 50 percent rate slash for craft brewers. Critics say that the new proposal, if approved, may encourage more people to take to heavy drinking.
According to the new proposal, beer, which is presently taxed at $18 per barrel, would be taxed at $16 per barrel for the first 2 million barrels produced or imported, and the tax would go back up to $18 after that. Similarly, small time brewers would be taxed at $3.50 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels produced in the country as against the existing $7 per barrel. Additionally, a tiered system would be in place to tax distilled spirits, which are currently taxed at $13.50 per proof gallon. However, in the event of the passage of the new bill, the tax would decrease to $2.70 per gallon for the first 100,000 gallons.
If the bill is approved, the tax reductions would be in effect for two years beginning on December 31, 2017. Describing the proposal as a significant recognition of the fact that distilled spirits have been subject to heavy taxes for years, Mark Gorman, senior vice president for the Distilled Spirits Council, said, “We’re gratified to have achieved this and we’re hoping to build on it in the future.” Gorman said he hopes that the reductions would be extended beyond the proposed two-year period.
Denise Dunckel, spokeswoman for the Beer Institute, an industry group representing brewers, said that the new laws would boost the American economy through jobs, technology and innovation, as the proposed legislation holds the potential to generate around $130 million, which could be reinvested in several ways within the $65 billion liquor industry.
Alcoholism is a national health concern
Research shows that a higher alcohol tax can lead to reduction in the number of people abusing the substance. However, since 1991, the Congress has failed to increase federal alcohol taxes, which are distinct from state taxes, leaving the taxation structure in a bad shape. Experts feel that the Congress should raise the existing tax rates, which would be beneficial for public health and safety. According to the 2016 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) notification, the present excise tax rates on alcohol are far lower than historical levels when adjusted to include the effects of inflation.
It is a surprising fact that alcoholism claims more lives than all intoxicants and stimulants combined. While there are thousands who demonize drugs, nobody seems to be even slightly suspicious over alcohol, which somehow ends up getting a silent approval from society. Alcohol has emerged as a legally accepted and fashionable drug in our neighborhoods and communities. There are millions of Americans suffering from alcohol addiction. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 15 million American adults — 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women — struggled with alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2015. Under such circumstances, educating people about the health hazards and the ill effects of alcoholism could go a long way in lowering the extent of the damage.
Alcohol addiction is treatable
In spite of its harmful effects on health, alcohol continues to be used and abused across the country. Research has time and again indicated that women are highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of alcohol.
The only solution to get rid of alcohol addiction is to seek professional help at a reputed rehab center. While looking for a leading drug addiction treatment provider, one needn’t look further than Sovereign Health to avail the latest treatment options at its state-of-the-art alcohol addiction treatment centers spread across the U.S. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online for more information about our residential treatment programs for alcoholism.