Proposed liquor tax aims to fund addiction treatment

The city of Boston considers taxing alcohol 2%

boston-taxBOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) –  Liquor store owners aren’t exactly toasting a new proposed liquor tax that could make buying alcohol in Boston, more expensive. 22News found out the goal is to help those struggling with addiction.

The City Council there’s considering a 2% city tax on liquor. The money would go to substance abuse and prevention programs.

“I know about addiction personally,” said Susan Yamashida, a West Springfield resident. “Those that don’t have [treatment] available to them? God help them.”

The proposal is only for the city of Boston, but if passed and successful, the idea could catch on. Something one health care provider is actually hoping for.

“I see regularly the outcomes from addiction and I know it’s a plague along with the opiates,” said Dennis Ramstein of West Springfield.

Every resident 22News spoke with in western Massachusetts said the same thing. This 2% tax is something they’d be willing to pay for.

However, Boston liquor store owners fear its residents don’t feel the same way. They think the tax would force customers to buy liquor outside the city.

“When you’re buying cases of beer or big bottles of alcohol that’s a lot of money that could add up and that could really be useful,” said Agawam resident Katelyn Iacolo.

The state sales tax on liquor was eliminated in 2011, shrinking the funding for treatment programs. If this 2% tax passes in Boston, Boston residents would pay an extra $2 for every $100 spent.

It’s believed the tax would raise about $20 million for substance abuse and prevention programs. The Boston City Council takes it to a vote Wednesday. Article Link…

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