Nearly a quarter of all Americans engaged in heavy drinking in the last month according to a 2011 SAMSA study. Heavy drinking or a binge is having five or more drinks at one sitting in the last month. Binges are associated with car crashes, injuries, disabilities, and death.
Mississippi collects over $100 million in alcohol taxes. $71 M comes to the Dept. of Revenue from the ABC and $30 M from the “Beer and Wine tax”. Our state’s beer is taxed at a high level compared to other states, but our wine tax is very low. Mississippi should tax the wine drinker like the beer drinker. Hard liquor and the softer alcohols should be taxed equally and should be allocated to the treatment of alcoholism, substance abuse, and mental health. $6 M was allocated to the Dept. of Mental Health in FY2011 from the $71 M collected on the ABC tax. See the Dept of Revenue http://www.dor.ms.gov/docs/stats_AnnualReport2011A.pdf
Medicaid, mental health, hospital, welfare, & rehabilitation services are very large and increasing state expenditures.