Today's hearing on AB287 pretty much went like this:
-Proponents: alcohol abuse, drunk driving and underage drinking cause a lot of problems in Wisconsin. We support a beer tax increase so law enforcement and treatment projects can be better-funded.
-Opponents: raising the beer tax will result in job losses, and potential business closures, in the brewing and related retail industries which are vital to Wisconsin's economic health.
I was disappointed that the debate centered around preventing alcohol abuse vs. saving jobs, as though the two are mutually exclusive, instead of focusing on who should pay for the high costs of alcohol abuse. I was at the hearing for over four hours, but my name hadn't been called by the time I needed to leave. The point I was planning to make was "my opposition to this tax doesn't mean that I'm against reducing drunk driving or alcohol abuse, or that I'm against using taxpayer money to do so. The issue for me is where the money comes from. If issuing fines to problem drinkers only pays for a fraction of the costs they create, you need somebody else to foot the rest of the bill. AB287 places that burden on responsible drinkers, even though they contribute no more to the problem - nor benefit any more from the solution - than non-drinkers. If a tax increase is absolutely necessary, then raise the general sales tax (by 0.05%) or income tax (all brackets by 0.03%) so the tax hike doesn't reflect a moral judgment against responsible drinkers."