Alcohol Tax Is Not The Answer to Drunken Driving

Published September 30, 2009

Reducing the number of DUIs and lives lost to alcohol-related incidents is a valid goal but why must taxes be raised to achieve it? (September 24, “Editorial: Drunken driving legislation only half complete”) We see over and over again taxes being raised to fund such programs, and then the money is raided by legislators for other programs or to fill budget deficits.

The alcohol tax increase is expected to bring in $27 million more than the cost of the reforms. If the legislature really wants to fund measures to address drunken driving, they should do so with existing tax revenues, not new tax hikes. An increase in the alcohol tax will simply create a bigger pot of money for the legislature to spend irresponsibly and grow the government unnecessarily.

The legislature needs to take a hard look at what programs should and should not be a core function of government, or else no tax increase will ever be enough.

John Nothdurft
Budget/tax legislative specialist
The Heartland Institute,

This letter to the editor was originally published in the Oshkosh Northwestern.