$5 More Per Bottle of Wine?

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Apr 1, 2010  |  Updated 4:57 PM PDT
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First real estate woes, foreign pests and weather put stress on local wineries. Now, a couple from Southern California wants to slap a crazy tax on Northern California's favorite crop.

The couple is floating an idea to add a tax to beer alcohol sales. It's not just a few cents they're talking about here. The Alcohol Related Harm and Damage Services Act would up the tax on a bottle of wine by 12,675 percent -- from the current 4 cents per bottle to $5.11. It would add a nearly $6 dollar tax to every six pack of beer and an additional $17 to a 750-milliliter bottle of distilled spirits.

Kent and Josephine Whitney of San Diego are behind the extreme idea. They are trying to collect enough signatures to get their initiative on the November ballot. They still need about half a million signatures by Aug. 23 to get the measure on the ballot.

Even though we got word of this idea on April Fool's Day, it's not a joke. Sure does sound like it but, after a little searching, we found the official application the Whitney's filed with the Secretary of State. Check it out for yourself. The details are spelled out right there, on Page 7.

Money raised from the tax would go to finance programs that address alcohol-related injuries and damages.

Even if the Whitneys do manage to find half a million more people drunk enough to sign their petition, it's likely the mega-tax measure will stumble.

California Assemblyman Jim Beall hit the wall last month with a proposal to tax beer, wine and liquor sales by just a nickel more per drink for pretty much the same reasons. It was the second time he tried to tax drinking and the second time it failed.

The bottom line? Don't get between drinkers and the beverages they love.

What do you think? Would you pay $5 more for a bottle of wine if you thought it could help keep people safe?

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