The push for increased taxes on alchohol during the 2023 session was led by writers at NM Indepth and several “progressive” legislators. The legislators pushing for higher taxes on alcohol were Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Joanne Ferrary, D-Las Cruces.
RGF is on the record as opposing increasing alcohol taxes and we share the Gov.’s concern that the tax hike “would not have a material effect on alcohol prevention and treatment.”
But something that received bipartisan support and just makes sense (yet was vetoed) was an effort by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque to shift half of alcohol tax revenues to treating and preventing alcohol misuse, about $24 million at current tax rates, rather than depositing them in the general fund. This was a move supported by advocates, industry, and RGF alike.
This confusing episode only highlights what (for those on the left AND right) amounts to a very mixed bag and hard-to-understand approach by the Gov. with regard to her broader policy goals AND these and other vetoes (not just alcohol policy). It is no wonder that her vetoes left so many scratching their heads even if they supported aspects of the vetoes.
One thing that is abundantly clear is that the advocates for higher alcohol taxes aren’t going anywhere. They will be advocating for higher taxes in the Legislature’s upcoming 2024 session.