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Public Health Advocates Push Higher Alcohol Taxes

Audio

Aired 6/26/09

Public health advocates are urging lawmakers to raise alcohol taxes to help close California's massive budget deficit. Alcohol taxes haven't been increased in the state since 1992.

— Public health advocates are urging lawmakers to raise alcohol taxes to help close California's massive budget deficit. Alcohol taxes haven't been increased in the state since 1992.

The tax rate on beer and wine in California are below the national average.

Public health advocates say raising alcohol taxes by 10 cents a drink would generate more than a billion dollars a year.

Beth Sise is the director of trauma prevention at Scripps Mercy Hospital. She says raising taxes on alcohol would also reduce consumption. That would cut down on alcohol-related problems.

"So lowering drinking through increased taxes on alcohol beverages would have a significant and direct positive aspect on the health of our San Diego community," says Sise.

The alcohol industry has helped kill similar efforts in the past. The industry says higher taxes would lead to job losses.

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