Social costs of alcoholism

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

Medicaid, mental health, hospital, welfare, & rehabilitation services are very large and increasing state expenditures.

Mississippi State Budget

                                                      Major Budget Items 

Medicaid                            $5.4 billion

Education                           $3.1 billion

Universities                      $2.4 billion

Human Services              $1.3 billion

Transportation                $1.1 billion

Mental Health                  $600 million

Development Authority   $506 million

Emergency Management    $492 million

Treasury                                    $488 million

Health                                         $440 million

Corrections                              $340 million

Junior Colleges                       $312

Environment                           $310

Rehabilitation Services       $216

Employment Security          $216

Information Technology     $168

Public Safety                             $160

Military                                       $141

Dept of Revenue                      $141

Finance & Admin                     $121

Port of Gulfport                        $87

Wildlife Fisheries                     $73

Supreme Court                         $60

Governors Office                      $51

Veteran Home Purchase       $47

Insurance Dept                          $42

             Veterans                                       $38 million