Raise the beer tax, then.

Today I found the national beer tax map (via TaxingTennessee), and promptly got mad.  Again.

See, the states to our south and east all have higher beer taxes —  some substantially higher — and yet, their end price to consumers is lower.  How could that be?

Simple. Some, maybe all of these states just happen to sell wine, or sometimes both wine and spirits, in grocery stores.  They don’t have the same kind of convoluted cartel system that we do, and the middleman is the difference.

Over the summer, I stopped in Georgia to buy beer (hubby’s favorite, Red Dog, is no longer available in Tennessee), and noted the prices of several that I like.  They were all lower than at home.  In Florida, I happened to walk past the beer section in a grocery store, and the same thing was true there.

So here’s the deal, folks: I’ll be happy to accept — even advocate for — a tripling of the beer tax if we can just change our outdated distribution system.  Let’s allow wine sales in grocery stores, and allow the purchase of wine and beer for home delivery.   Get rid of the protectionist distributor system, and let the free market prevail.

Bet that additional 28 cents per gallon looks pretty good right about now, amid a budget crisis… and that doesn’t even count the additional sales tax revenue that would come as a result of increased wine sales.

I don’t know if it’s possible to drink our way out of a recession, but it’s worth a try.

6 Responses to “Raise the beer tax, then.”

  1. on 25 Nov 2008 at 8:17 pm girlfriend

    Welcome to the “Bible Belt” where you can cut off your nose to spite your face.

  2. on 25 Nov 2008 at 9:31 pm Harry

    I’ll drink to that! Maybe the state budget shortfall will force the legislature to get real.

  3. on 25 Nov 2008 at 10:00 pm Jacket

    Tax alcohol? That caused a revolt in the 1790’s. Hmmmmm? Better be careful some of those folks are still around. You know the type, tax, any kind is bad.

  4. on 26 Nov 2008 at 11:03 am Joel

    I’m all for sin taxes.


  5. […] Raise the beer tax, then. Today I found the national beer tax map (via TaxingTennessee), and promptly got mad. Again. See, the states to our south and east all have higher beer taxes – some substantially higher — and yet, their end price to consumers is lower. How could that be? Simple. Some, maybe all of these states just … […]

  6. on 02 Dec 2008 at 7:58 pm N.S. Allen

    Here, here.

    Also, RE: Jacket, the Whiskey Rebellion wasn’t really an “any taxes are bad” issue. At that point in time, it was much simpler for farmers in the west to sell their corn as whiskey than to get it to market in its original form. So, the excise tax on whiskey hit the large number of Americans working in agriculture extremely hard.

    It’s sort of unfair to the folks who were involved to link them with anti-tax diehards in the modern era.

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