Medicaid’s Insolvent? Raise Booze Taxes!


The Foundation is always grateful when we’re allowed to present our research and analysis in the Albuquerque Journal. But sheesh, the paper sure has let some nutty ideas cluster on its editorial page lately.

Today’s kookiness arrives courtesy the “Alcohol Taxes Saves Lives & Money coalition,” which is pushing a “25-cent-per-drink increase in alcohol taxes.” The reason? The state’s unsustainably crushing Medicaid expenditures.

Citing the “Center [sic] for Disease Control’s Community Advisory Panel,” Peter Debenedittis argues that “raising alcohol taxes is the most effective way to reduce the health harms caused by excessive drinking.”

Maybe not. As the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity’s Jason Stverak noted: “Research by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has found that hardcore alcohol abusers are affected little by increases in price, which have a greater effect on light and moderate drinkers. Additionally, studies show that beer taxes have an insignificant effect on underage drinking.”

Besides, it’s not as if New Mexico’s alcohol taxes aren’t high already. The beer tax is the same as Utah’s, but it’s higher than those in Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado. The Land of Enchantment’s levy on wine is greater than those found in each of its four neighbors that imposes a tax. (Utah controls all sales of wine.) And distilled spirits are taxed at a higher rate here than in Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado.

Hiking booze taxes to cover Medicaid’s profligacy is an excellent example of how Big Government perpetuates itself. One unwise public policy (expanding Medicaid) creates a fiscal crisis that makes another round of meddling (higher alcohol taxes) “necessary.” It’s a cycle that never ends — unless an informed and active citizenry sees to it that government is confined to its proper sphere.

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4 Replies to “Medicaid’s Insolvent? Raise Booze Taxes!”

  1. And where the heck does he get that completely fabricated $793 million figure for the price of alcohol issues to state and local taxpayers? Just insane.

  2. Last week channel 4, 5 o’clock news did a story about the the “brain drain” from New Mexico, (people who graduate, take their diplomas and leave the state). Stuart Dyson interviewed some idiot with and education agenda, who said the reason that was happening is because NM does not spend enough on education. Stuart Dyson went along with that conclusion and chided NM for not supporting higher taxes for education. I sent a note to the channel 4 news pointing out that people are taking their diplomas and leaving because they can’t find jobs not because they can’t get an education (albeit not a very good one). No reply from them so I guess they stand by their conclusion.

    Channel 4’s “I stand 4 New Mexico” slogan would be more believable if they had more integrity in their news stories.

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