Health advocates are wary of Congress' tax cuts on alcohol sales, fearing an increase in consumption will be damaging to public health and safety, because of drunk driving, according to a report.
"The cheaper alcohol is, the more people drink and the more they have alcohol problems, and there is a huge international literature that has shown that over and over and over," Johns Hopkins University's David Jernigan told Politico. "The public health ramifications of this continue to be invisible to policymakers."
In the law signed by President Donald Trump before Christmas, Congress moved to temporarily cut alcohol tax by 16 percent, a stark contrast to the treatment of arguably equally dangerous vices like tobacco and cigarettes, according to the report.
"Cigarette taxes go up on a fairly regular basis, and alcohol taxes almost never go up — and in this case, they're going down — and yet they are, in a lot of ways, similar products," Jernigan told Politico.
Some details of the alcohol tax cuts, per Politico:
– Liquor makers currently pay a $13.50 tax per "proof gallon," but that will fall to $2.70 for the first 100,000 gallons produced.
– Beer was taxed $18 per barrel and smaller brewers just $7 per the first 60,000 barrels, but that will be just $3.50 on the first 60,000 and $16 after, up to 6 million barrels.
– Wine between 14 and 21 percent alcohol had paid $1.57 tax per wine gallon and now wines up to 16 percent will pay just $1.07.
According to the Center of Responsive Politics, the alcohol lobby has spent $22.6 million.