HARTFORD, March 18, 2002 – In testimony today before the Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding, the Distilled Spirits Council strongly opposed a bill to double the state’s excise tax on distilled spirits and sharply criticized the state’s revenue projections for the proposal. The legislation, SB 611, calls for a 100 percent tax increase on distilled spirits, beer and wine products and the state estimated that doubling the tax would generate twice the amount of revenue for the state, $40.6 to $81.6 million. Calling it, “an unfortunate miscalculation using poor economics,” DSC President Dr. Peter Cressy charged that the bill will actually “put the state further in the red.” “According to our analysis, the state is flat out wrong in its assessment and actually stands to lose $500,000 in distilled spirits tax revenues,” Cressy added. Further, Cressy pointed out that the tax on distilled spirits products is already at such a high rate that any additional tax will cause responsible consumers to simply buy less or force them across state borders to purchase their products at a lower price. A Council analysis estimates Connecticut would lose 1.3 million gallons of distilled spirits sales causing state revenues to fall by nearly $500,000. “During these tough times, Connecticut taxpayers would be better served if the legislature worked with the industry to protect and enhance the state’s struggling hospitality and tourism industry,” said Cressy. Additionally, he noted, the bill would result in some 2000 lost jobs in the state. Cressy noted that since 1985, the distilled spirits industry has been burdened with two federal excise tax increases and a prior 1989 Connecticut tax hike of 50%, making spirits products among the highest taxed consumer products in the state. Doubling the tax on spirits will increase distilled spirits prices by approximately 14 percent and will make the Connecticut tax rate on spirits the highest in the country. “Responsible consumers in Connecticut have already paid more than their fair share,” said Cressy. “When a typical bottle of spirits is purchased in Connecticut, more than 50 percent of the purchase price goes to a tax of some kind. These responsible consumers should not be further penalized.” The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the national trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., DISCUS is led by Dr. Peter H. Cressy, former head of a university.