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AB 1019: It's Time for Big Alcohol to Pay Up
Date:4/20/2009

Beall Proposes Fee on Liquor, Wine, Beer Industry to mitigate alcohol-related impacts

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Assembly Bill 1019 -- a proposal to impose a fee on the beer, wine, and liquor industries to mitigate the billions in costs to Californians for alcohol-related problems -- advances to its first hearing this legislative session on Tuesday before the California State Assembly Health Committee.

Revenue from the fee would be used to establish a program to be administered by state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs that would help mitigate the $38.4 billion cost of harm that alcohol creates in accidents, deaths, illnesses, injuries, and crime - such as domestic violence.

"The industry must start paying its fair share for the problems their products cause," said Assemblyman Jim Beall, Jr., D-San Jose, author of AB 1019, the Alcohol Related Services Act. "If this fee and the program it pays for prevents another child from being born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or prevents another senseless DUI fatality it will have paid for itself and more."

AB 1019 generates $1.4 billion in revenue to fund alcohol-related emergency medical and trauma care; hospitalization and rehabilitation services; treatment and recovery services; prevention, education, and research to prevent alcohol abuse; and criminal justice and enforcement programs.

The Regulatory Mitigation Fee levied by AB 1019 amounts to an increase of $1.07 per gallon of beer; $2.56 per gallon of wine that contains 14 percent or less in alcohol; $4.27 per gallon of wine and sparkling hard cider that contains more than 14 percent alcohol; $8.53 per gallon of distilled spirits. The fee breaks down to about a dime per drink for a 12-ounce serving of beer; 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits; and 5 ounces of wine. It is levied on distributors. They and the retailers have the option of whether to pass the cost onto consumers.

"Now is the time to charge Big Alcohol for the $38.4 billion dollars in harm their products cause every year in California," said Bruce Livingston, executive director of Marin Institute, the alcohol industry watchdog. "There is no better way to hold the industry accountable than a mitigation fee to fund the state's critical programs of treatment, prevention and recovery."

AB 1019 has been amended to be enacted as a fee, which can be passed by the Legislature with a majority vote. The state levy on alcohol has not changed in more than 17 years.

    Contact: Rodney Foo, Assembly District 24, (916) 319-2024 or
             (408) 823-5537

             Michael Scippa, Marin Institute Advocacy Director,
             (415) 548-0492

             Jorge Castillo, Marin Institute Advocacy and Outreach Manager,
             (213) 840-3336


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SOURCE Marin Institute
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