Liquor Taxes May Be On the Table in New Mexico

November 5, 2009

From The New Mexican‘s Steve Terrell:

But with all financial bills fair game in the regular 30-day session — and the budget crisis continuing — [Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe] said Tuesday that he’ll introduce his “dime-a-drink” tax hike again next year, along with legislation to raise cigarette taxes and motor-vehicle registration fees.[…]

Egolf believes the idea’s time has come. He points to a poll — commissioned last month by the New Mexico Education Partners, which includes teachers unions and other professional educator organizations — that shows 70 percent of the 400 registered voters surveyed supported increasing taxes on tobacco and alcohol products to increase revenues for public schools. In that poll, which has a margin of error of 4.9 percent, only 27 percent opposed the idea of increasing what are sometimes referred to as “sin taxes.”

Taxes, y’know, for kids! Push poll results notwithstanding, money is fungible: a dedicated tax “for kids” just frees up money already going to kids to be used for other things. And with most excise taxes, officials just look at them as a revenue stone to be squeezed with no end in sight.

New Mexico is already pretty high as it is:

Both the excise tax on beer (41 cents per gallon) and wine ($1.70 per gallon for most wines) are among the top 10 highest such state taxes, according to a study published this year by The Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan tax-research group. The state excise tax on distilled spirits ($6.06 per gallon) is the 17th highest such levy in the nation.

Full article here. More on excise taxes here.

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