DISTILLED SPIRITS COUNCIL: MASSACHUSETTS LIQUOR TAX HIKE DEFEATED
WASHINGTON, June 20, 2002 – The Massachusetts Senate defeated a proposal June 13 to impose a five percent sales tax on distilled spirits, a move heralded by the Distilled Spirits Council as “sound social, economic and fiscal policy.” The tax increase, proposed as an amendment to the budget, called for a five percent tax increase on spirits, beer and wine to help fund treatment programs for illicit drug or alcohol abusers. “We commend the members of the Senate for making the right decision,” said David Wojnar, Distilled Spirits Council Eastern Region Vice President who testified last May before the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Taxation in opposition to the legislation. “Responsible consumption of distilled spirits, beer or wine is a socially acceptable part of a normal, healthy, adult lifestyle. Earmarked taxes singling out a legal and responsible industry and its responsible consumers is not good public policy and not in the public interest.” Wojnar said that representatives from each tier and each sector of the beverage alcohol industry united to lobby against the tax increase. The coalition consisted of the Distilled Spirits Council, the Massachusetts Wine and Spirits Wholesalers, Massachusetts Beer Wholesalers, Massachusetts Package Store Association, The Wine Institute, Miller Brewing and Anheuser-Busch. “By working together, the industry was able to send a single message to the legislature — don’t force responsible consumers to pay for illicit drug use and alcohol abuse,” Wojnar concluded.