Washington, DC March 3, 2004 – The Distilled Spirits Council said yesterday’s defeat of California Proposition 56, a ballot initiative that would have lowered the number of votes needed in the state’s legislature for tax increases, was a victory for the hospitality industry. The measure was defeated by a vote of 65.8% against to 34.2% in favor. “Had this initiative passed, there is no doubt that the hospitality industry in California would have been subjected to extremely onerous job-killing taxes,” said Peter Cressy, President of the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS). “This is a victory for beer, wine and spirits as well as the wholesalers, restaurateurs and other retailers who came together to spearhead the fight against this labor-backed initiative.” The passage of Prop 56 would have lowered the threshold required to pass tax bills in California from 67 percent to 55 percent of state legislators. DISCUS and its member companies, along with beer, wine and other sectors of the hospitality industry, raised $2.9 to fight the initiative battle. Working in conjunction with California Chamber of Commerce, which led the effort through a broad-based coalition, ads were launched and voters were mobilized. In total, the Chamber-led coalition raised approximately $10 million while the proponents of the initiative, primarily public service employee labor unions, threw over $15 million into the fight. “We all thank the California State Chamber for immediately recognizing the threat this proposition posed to taxpayers and jobs, and for successfully leading the coalition that defeated it,” said Cressy.