In a press release issued today, the Marin Institute — who’s pushing a mandatory alcohol fee in San Francisco — stated that their bogus ‘Charge for Harm’ Alcohol Mitigation Fee Deserves San Francisco Small Business Support. Yes, by all means, every business should support more taxes and higher prices, that’s just good business.
A hearing is scheduled for this afternoon at 5:30 by the Small Business Commission and will take place at San Francisco City Hall. If you own or run a small business that involves alcohol, be sure to tell them what you think you deserve. Do you deserve to pay more taxes, even though roughly 46% of the price of every beer goes to taxes, which makes it the most heavily taxed product in America? Do you deserve to have higher prices than the rest of the state? Do you deserve to make less money? Do you deserve to have fewer customers? Do you deserve to lay off good employees?
Here’s another brilliant piece of logic from the press release:
The proposed ordinance is supported by a “nexus study” commissioned by the San Francisco City Comptroller’s Office. The study found $17.7 million in direct city and county unreimbursed expenses for alcohol-related problems addressed by community behavioral health services, fire department emergency medical transport, San Francisco General Hospital, and the Sheriff’s department.
Bullshit. The nexus study is titled The Cost of Alcohol to San Francisco: Analyses Supporting an Alcohol Mitigation Fee. It’s whole purpose is to present only one side of the story, ignoring anything and everything that might oppose it or show it for the farce it is. It didn’t “find” anything, it just totaled up some questionable expenses and claimed they were due to alcohol. You can read more detail about the truth of nexus study here.
More tortured logic:
“All San Francisco residents and small businesses unfairly bear the burden of government costs for alcohol-related problems,” said Michele Simon, JD, MPH, research and policy director for the alcohol industry watchdog, Marin Institute. “This relatively small fee will ensure alcohol wholesalers and importers — not bars, restaurants, or retailers — will pay their fair share to mitigate the tremendous economic costs of alcohol harm in San Francisco.”
If, and that’s a big if, “All San Francisco residents and small businesses” share these costs supposedly, but not proven to be, attributable to alcohol, then why shouldn’t all residents and businesses pay for them, equally, like all other taxes? Why single out out alcohol manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, bars, hotels and the people who drink alcohol. Because the fee as it’s been proposed targets alcohol, and by extension the people who drink it. But the vast majority of people who legally drink alcohol do so responsibly and in moderation, and do not burden the city’s resources.
And it’s not a “relatively small fee” because they conveniently keep ignoring the fact that it will be marked up before being passed on to consumers.
And here’s how much they care about the small businesses they think deserve to support the fee:
The alcohol mitigation fee will not be allowed to exceed the costs as outlined in the nexus study, and will be imposed primarily on regional wholesalers and the portion of local brews consumed locally. Most beer is produced by foreign corporations who could easily bear some of the fee.
“[P]rimarily on regional wholesalers?” First of all, what about the distributors in San Francisco? I guess they don’t count. And the regional wholesalers, those are California businesses that would be targeted if they plan to do business in the city — which many of them do — and are located just outside the city in the Bay Area. And going after the foreign beer corporations — forgetting for a moment that they employ tens of thousands of American workers — ignores completely the more than 225 small family-owned breweries in California (eight of which are in San Francisco), along with the hundreds of small wineries and micro-distilleries.
And lastly, this:
“Small business in San Francisco should not let Big Alcohol scare them into opposition,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, executive director of Marin Institute. “We ask small businesses to be supportive, as the policy will charge alcohol wholesalers for harm instead of taxpayers and all taxpaying small businesses.” Livingston added, “We’ve all been paying for the emergency, detox and treatment costs of alcohol, but this smart fee shifts the costs to the Big Beer corporations and their wholesalers.”
Please, what planet does Livingston live on? How could he not realize that the fee will be passed along to “taxpayers and all taxpaying small businesses?” They will be paying. We all will be. He can’t possibly think otherwise, can he? He wants businesses to support their own demise? Because even businesses that don’t sell alcohol, but that benefit from it, will also be harmed by a loss of business in San Francisco. This stupid fee doesn’t shift any burdens whatsoever, though I suspect the Marin Institute knows that.