30 March 2010

Some Californians eager to kill their wine industry.

(Hopefully not that many though.)
Dr Vino | Tyler Colman | Will voters swallow seven buck Chuck?

Could California’s wine excise tax increase 12,600 percent?

If Josie and Kent M. Whitney have their way, it will. According to the Sonoma Valley Sun (via wineopinions), the Secretary of State has cleared their ballot initiative that would raise the excise tax on a regular bottle of wine from four cents to…$5.11.
The Sonoma Valley Sun also notes that "The measure would push the tax on a six-pack of beer from 11¢ to $6.08, and raise the total tax on a 750 ml bottle of distilled spirits from 65 cents to $17.57."

Talk about regressive.  At this point in my life there isn't any Californian wine I buy that would be worth paying an extra $5.11 for.

You can read the Whitney's wowser proposal here. Some interesting tidbits:
  • I'm sure this is common language for ballot initiatives, but the list of "whereas'es" begins with "The People of the State of California find and declare all of the following." what follows is a list of statistics related to the ill-effects of alcohol. In my mind that looks a lot like a government declaration that some statistical measurements are true.

    No government, democratic or otherwise, can impact the truth or falsehood of numeric statements. If the voters of California "found and declared" that one bazillion people died every hour from lack of yummy cheese that wouldn't actually make it true.

  • One of those "wheras'es" is "(k) The last alcoholic beverage tax increase in California was in 1992." This makes it seem like a tax increase is necessary to keep up with inflation. But 12,600%? Come on.

  • Fifteen percent of the funds raised (estimated by the proponents to be .15 * $8 billion = $1.2 billion) is dedicated to "naturopathic treatment and recovery programs for alcohol addiction." In other words, a bankrupt state is directed to spend a billion dollars on hocus pocus.

  • The way I read this, the increased excise tax will apply to alcohol already produced that is in stock at distributors or retailers. I've already said my piece about retroactive tax increases obliterating the point of having Rule of Law.


  1. Excellent take on a stupid tax.

  2. Well, CA does have a certain reputation for... fruitiness. Ballot initiative, eh? I wonder how much it will lose by.