Monday, January 02, 2012
Where's Your Beer Tax Money Going?
If you aren't aware of what I'm talking about, let me back up. There's statute on the books that gives cities and counties some of the taxes collected on the sale of beer. This statute also says that "revenue must be spent on programs and procedures designed to prevent or reduce the abuse of alcohol by minors and adults". Not a bad way to use the taxes, right? Seems like an appropriate use for beer tax money to me.
Apparently 26 municipalities around the state have come up with some creative ways to use this money - by diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars of beer tax money into everyday city or county activities. Here are some stellar examples. To combat drunken driving and other alcohol-related problems, the city of Riverton bought an inflatable arch. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office bought a dog. Delta helped pay for crossing guards. Not exactly beer related, eh?
If it’s determined any of the 26 municipalities misspent the money, a portion or all of what they would have received from the beer tax in fiscal 2012 will be withheld.
As long as Utah's beer consumers are getting raped by taxes, the very least lawmakers could do is craft language that's specific about where our taxes are going and appropriately punish those who can't mange their beer tax money better.
Source: Salt Lake Tribune