Originally created 03/14/03

Alcohol tax hike won't reduce teen drinking



In response to the Feb. 23 letter by the president of the Georgia Parent-Teacher Association, Shiree Lynch ("Applauds increase in tobacco and alcohol tax"), calling for higher beer taxes, I'd like to set the record straight.

Contrary to assumptions made by the Georgia PTA, studies show no connection between increased beer taxes and reduced drinking among minors. Teens' decisions about drinking are removed from shelf prices, since someone has to make the purchases for them.

Georgia's beer wholesalers are proud to have made concerted efforts to promote responsible beer consumption, and to prevent underage purchase of beer though programs such as "WE ID" and server training programs.

Georgia's beer wholesalers provide speakers and educational materials to high school and college students, and to their parents. We promote alcohol awareness through public service announcements in radio, television and newspaper ads. Responsible use of malt beverages, including the elimination of underage drinking, has been and will continue to be of highest importance to Georgia's wholesalers.

Raising beer taxes will seriously hurt many Georgia businesses that already pay huge property taxes to support schools and state government operations. Higher beer taxes are not the answer.

J. Douglas Herman Sr., Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is president of Beverage South Inc. in Augusta.)