Health Department Says Alcohol Tax is “On The Menu” for New York (Updated: DOH Says No Tax Considered)


Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has been trying to further tax alcoholic beverages in the state to fund “alcoholism and substance abuse prevention and treatment.” So far the assembly has bottled that one up, so to speak, in ways and means.

But now the City Department of Health is looking at a new booze tax*.

(*Update: The DOH calls to say that the Daily News story linked above is wrong: “The City does not have a proposal to raise the alcohol tax.” The News hasn’t corrected, though they add that their estimated tax amount is from the Citizens’ Committee for Children, as well as color commentary from local drinkers; our own, based on the original report, remains after the jump.)

The MacGuffin in this case is not a treatment program, but money, and of course the health of citizens who don’t know enough to stop drinking unless the government puts its hand over the glass.

Deputy Commission Adam Karpati [allegedly!] says a fresh tax of 10 cents on a beer and 20 cents on a bottle of wine is “on the menu.” He doesn’t give the News a health justification, but he speaks for the Department of Health; should such a tax be formally proposed we expect beer, wine and liquor to be portrayed as sugary sodas have been in the DOH’s “Drink Yourself Fat” ad campaign: as a menace we’re better off without, or at least should feel bad enough about wanting to pay extra for.

If they’re floating this now, maybe they intend to announce the tax during April, Alcohol Awareness Month. To the barricades!

Update, Feb. 26: Mayor Bloomberg says there are no plans for a new alcohol tax, but “never say never.”