Senator Marc Basnight
2007 Legislative Building
Raleigh, NC 27601-2808
Dear Senator Basnight:
I read with interest your proposal to increase alcohol taxes with those funds to be utilized for mental health appropriations. I think that's great and would like to add an important ancillary benefit that would occur. Higher drink prices would reduce underage drinking and marijuana use too. I've enclosed an article on this from Jointogether.org As you know teen drinking and drugging is a huge brain drain problem and a major factor in automobile accidents and deaths.
As for all the complaints alcohol companies are making, they are blowing hot air. I've enclosed several news releases on market leader Anheuser-Busch and just how they are reacting to current market conditions. They are raising prices and the prices are sticking! In fact I wonder if your tax increase is enough to even force them to raise wholesale prices. While I don't know the precise figures vast sums of money is being spent on marketing and advertising. They might just absorb the difference just so they keep their core youth market intact.
Also, I have other important information that's just too overwhelming to be included within a one page note to you. Please check out this link to an article below. It was mainly intended to address hep C (yes, higher alcohol taxes could cover that too.) but there are lots of other benefits to reduction of alcohol use.
One other aspect that I didn't see covered in the newspaper article concerned keg registration. I urge you to include this important alcohol regulatory component. For roughly less than a $1mm a year you could put a huge dent in these damn keg parties were kids drink till they puke. That'll save a few young lives every year so please go the extra effort. Many other states do it and beer companies can live without too much of an adjustment.
One final note, alcohol causes 100,000 deaths annually and $165 billion in costs in this country. That's not as bad as tobacco but still far from being an innocent legitimate business.
Good luck to you and while I've been a Republican for a long time here's one issue I'd fully support you in and will urge others to also support. Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information.
CC: Rowan County Representatives