Gogek, Jim

Jim Gogek is a veteran journalist who has written about research-based solutions to alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems for 20 years.

Alcohol Tax Increases Can Help Save State Budgets and Reduce Underage Drinking

By Jim Gogek

Powerful alcohol lobby kills nearly every attempt to raise alcohol taxes -- even as huge budget deficits create mini-recessions in many states

“Schools, city stare into abyss” screams a headline in the San Diego Union-Tribune about the hundreds of millions of dollars in budget shortfalls foreseen in the next few years. “Schwarzenegger declares California fiscal emergency” yells Reuters. But the Golden State, with its $19 billion deficit, isn’t the only one with a problem. New York faces an $8.5 billion deficit, Michigan $2 billion – 46 states had budget deficits in FY 2010-2011. Another $120 billion in state budget deficits are forecast for 2012.

There’s a pretty simple way to close at least part of those gaps and, at the same time, reduce our country’s worst youth drug problem: raise alcohol taxes.