The New York City Health Department Is Considering A Tax Increase On Alcohol To Encourage Healthier Drinking Habits Aiming To Combat High School Drinking And Drinking Related Hospital Visits

NYC Health Department Considers Tax Increase on Alcohol

A New Yark Bar Sign

That daily beer at your nearby bar in New York may come with a heftier price tag in the near future, thanks to a new projected tax on liquor: The Health Department is considering a tax increase on alcohol. Supporters are hugely in favor of the tax--they it’s a step towards encouraging New Yorkers to drink less and generally get healthier. Among the increases being considered: A 10-cent tax on a bottle of Budweiser, bringing the total tax to 17 cents on a bottle of beer.

Some bottles of wine could see an increase of nearly 50 cents. What are the current taxes? Well, if you’ve bought a bottle of beer in New York lately, you paid 7.4 cents tax on it. And if you’re buying hard liquor, you could be paying--get ready--more than three dollars in taxes on it. The state loves its so-called sin taxes—it collected more than $260 million in taxes from alcohol alone last year. But health advocates say that more than just money is at stake.

Advocates Emphasize Behavior Change and Health Benefits

They claim that hitting New Yorkers where it hurts--in their wallets—will be the most effective and efficient way to see a change in people’s behavior: In other words, taxes go up, drinking goes down. Taxes on soda and sugary items are also being considered, and are strongly favored by Mayor Bloomberg. Seventeen hundred deaths were attributed to alcohol in New York in 2008. Supporters of the bill say it will also reduce high-school drinking as well as drinking-related hospital visits.