The Boston City Council should consider the $10 million in lost sales and 130 hospitality jobs that would be destroyed by imposing a new city-wide drink tax, according to the No Boston Drink Tax coalition.
Distilled Spirits Council Vice President Jay Hibbard, on behalf of No Boston Drink Tax, submitted testimony today to the Government Operations Committee hearing on how the two percent tax hike will hurt Boston merchants by creating a significant competitive disadvantage compared to bars, restaurants, hotels and stores in adjacent cities and towns.
“Nearly 50 percent of the retail price goes to pay a tax of some kind for a typical bottle of distilled spirits sold in Massachusetts,” said Hibbard. “Adding an additional burden to a heavily taxed product will not solve the city’s spending problem and will merely serve as a drag on the hospitality industry, hurt consumers and endanger jobs.
“Responsible consumption of distilled spirits, beer or wine is a socially acceptable part of a normal, healthy, adult lifestyle and it is unfair to consistently target these consumers for additional revenue. Over the last three fiscal years alone, the City of Boston has collected and budgeted for revenue of $213.4 million dollars from the already imposed hospitality tax. It is up to the City Council on how that money is spent – however, targeting the hospitality industry with additional discriminatory taxes to cover budget shortfalls is shortsighted and poor policy,” Hibbard added.
The beverage alcohol industry is an important economic driver for Massachusetts. Spirits alone generate an estimated $1.9 billion in economic activity, 30,000 jobs and over 160 million in state and local taxes.
No Boston Drink Taxis a hospitality coalition comprised of the Massachusetts Package Store Association, Massachusetts Restaurant Association, Beer Distributors of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Wine & Spirits Wholesalers, and Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.