IF YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IS A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
VIA FAX: (202) XXX-XXXX
The Honorable ____________________
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative ______________;
I am writing in opposition to legislation introduced in March, 2001 (H.R. 1305) that would unwisely repeal the 1991 beer tax increase and the beer tax rate back to its 1951 level. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I hope that you will oppose this legislation for the following reasons, should it come before the committee either as a stand-alone measure or as part of other tax legislation:
Alcohol is the #1 drug problem among young people and beer is their alcohol of choice. Young people in this country consume approximately 10% of all beer sold. There are more than 1.1 billion cans of beer consumed annually by underage drinkers. In 2000, 2,339 young people between the ages of 15-20 lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes, and thousands more were injured.
Lowering the beer tax will worsen underage drinking. Beer will be more affordable to youth who are especially price-sensitive. In some areas, the price of a six-pack of beer is already lower than the price of a six-pack of soda. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, lower taxes and prices of beer will lead to higher levels and frequency of drinking among youth and increase traffic crash
The federal excise tax on beer ($18 per 31-gallon barrel) equals about 32 cents per six-pack. Had the tax kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, the per-barrel tax would total approximately $49 today, or 84 cents per six-pack.
Only heavier beer drinkers currently pay more than a few cents per day, at most, in beer taxes. Fewer than 10% of beer drinkers drink 2 or more beers per day -- the heaviest drinking 20% of beer drinkers consume 80% of all beer.
Reducing the beer excise tax is bad fiscal and public health policy. Cheaper beer would contribute to increased underage and heavy drinking. Worse yet, current federal tax doesn’t come close to offsetting the public health and safety costs of beer consumption. If anything, beer taxes should be raised to help meet prevention, treatment, law enforcement, and other costs associated with excessive and underage beer drinking.
Please oppose H.R. 1305 should it be considered by the Ways and Means Committee as a stand-alone bill or as an element of other tax-policy legislation. Kindly let me know where you stand on this important issue. Thank you for your consideration of my request.
Click here to view Action Alert on H.R. 1305