I saw a letter to the editor in the Inquirer a few days ago about increasing beer taxes. Here's what he said, in part: "In the interest of increasing state revenues, Gov. Rendell should substantially increase taxes on alcoholic beverages, especially beer. Most politicians are afraid to tackle this issue, because of the "macho man" ripple it may cause..."
I hate beer taxes (and liquor taxes, and wine taxes, and all such excise taxes that tax narrow groups based on consumption), especially when they lean on the whole "sin tax" thing, which this guy did: "...the state also would be helping to save lives." Really? The numbers are -- surprise! -- pretty damned vague on that, though they are pretty clear that to "save lives," beer taxes would have to go up by a lot more than the PA legislature is likely to raise them.
So I wrote a response, and they printed it today. Here's the conclusion, the real heart of the argument: "Push the state income or sales tax up half a percentage point, or cut spending, but don't balance your problematic budget on my beer-drinking back. It's not about being macho. It's about fairness, and not asking beer drinkers to pay your share."
Always nice to be heard.