Policast: Rep. Karen Clark on raising the alcohol tax

Policast for March 6, 2013:

The House Taxes Committee meets today to consider a proposal to raise taxes on alcohol in the state.

The proposal would increase the tax on a barrel of beer from $4.60 to $16.17, which adds up to about 3.5 cents per beer. The cost for a glass of wine or shot of liquor would increase by about 10 cents, according to House Research.

Proceeds would be used to fund treatment programs, drug courts and law enforcement costs.

The bill’s author, Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, said the state spends about $5 billion on alcohol related costs each year.

“Everything from needs for health intervention, chemical dependency treatment, also law enforcement costs, prison costs,” Clark said. “We really need to figure out ways to deal with the cost of alcohol overuse.”

Gov. Mark Dayton doesn’t currently support the tax, but recently signaled that he may be open to it.

Costs for alcohol use in Minnesota are about 17 times greater than the revenue brought in by alcohol sales, according to a 2011 report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

UPDATE: Rep. Clark amended her bill Wednesday day to lower the proposed tax increase on wine to four cents per glass.

Policast is a daily roundup of Minnesota political news hosted by Mike Mulcahy and Cathy Wurzer. Subscribe on iTunes. The entire discussion with Rep. Karen Clark can be heard on the March 6, 2013 episode.

  • Karla Hinzmann

    This tax would eliminate many jobs and businesses. It is to go toward health care of the addicted – why not make health care affordable and then the state would not have to pay for it!!!!! Think about it!