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Industry Research

Statement from Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy in Response to the University of Florida Study on Alcohol Taxes

September 24, 2010


“Numerous studies, including research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, show that alcohol abusers are the least sensitive to tax increases. It is the moderate responsible consumer who cuts back the most when prices rise. 
 
According to scientific studies, moderate alcohol consumption is associated with the lowest all-cause mortality compared to non-drinkers.  It makes no sense to penalize moderate drinkers to pay for the abuse of a few, particularly when raising taxes will not reduce problems associated with abuse.  For example, according to government statistics, there is no relationship between alcohol excise tax rates and alcohol-related traffic fatalities. 
 
Needless to say, this research does not account for the enormous economic impact a high tax policy prescription would have on the hospitality industry and its consumers.  Not only would this proposal punish responsible adult beverage alcohol consumers, it would also hurt thousands of employees and small businesses in the hospitality industry in every town in America.  At a time when the hospitality industry is slowly recovering from the recession, now is the worst time to further burden these businesses with higher taxes. When it comes to alcohol taxes, spirits consumers already pay more than their fair share with taxes making up more than half the price of a typical bottle.
 
The spirits industry is committed to fighting alcohol abuse but raising taxes will not achieve this objective.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the United States are at historic lows and underage drinking rates have declined over the last two decades.  The spirits industry has been working for decades in public-private partnerships on evidence-based programs that have made a difference in this important progress.”
 


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