Does the Two-Buck Chuck Stop Here?

Proposal to raise wine taxes would increase per-bottle fee from 4 to 29.6 cents

By TJ Sullivan
|  Thursday, Jan 22, 2009  |  Updated 8:53 AM PDT
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Does the Two-Buck Chuck Stop Here?

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Under a new proposal, the per-bottle wine tax in California could go from 4 cents to 29.6 cents.

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Two-Buck Chuck, the two-dollar-a-bottle Charles Shaw wine sold exclusively at Trader Joe's grocery stores, may barely be wine, but, by God, it costs two bucks and the bottle has a cork.

Given a choice between Two-Buck Chuck and Two-Buck-Twenty-Nine Chuck, most of us would surely prefer the former.

Yet, we might not be permitted that choice, or our preference, if a proposal to raise the state wine tax is approved in Sacramento.

As of Thursday, the tax on a bottle of wine remained at 4 cents and, who cares about 4 cents? I'll leave four pennies on the pavement rather than expend the energy necessary to pick them up.

But, I'll sure stoop to scoop up a quarter, and definitely for 29.6 cents, which is exactly what the per-bottle tax would be under a plan put forth by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, across whose affluent palate Two -Buck Chuck has probably never passed.

Talk about buzz kill ... I just pictured Arnold Schwarzenegger's palate.

In the words of The Dude, this aggression will not stand, man.

Two-Buck Chuck that costs more than two bucks is like ... like ... It's like a 99 Cents Only Store charging more than 99 cents.

A name's got to count for something. If the name on the box says Kentucky Fried Chicken you ought to get chicken. If it says Burger King you've got a right to expect a burger. At Panda Express you should be able to get ... er ... well ... not panda, of course, but ...

The point is, if there was ever a time we needed two-dollar-a-bottle wine, isn't this it?

-- TJ Sullivan

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