Action Alert: Oppose Alcohol Tax Cuts in the 109th Congress!


Reducing taxes on alcoholic beverages is bad fiscal and public health policy.  Lower alcohol taxes would add to the deficit, cater to a prosperous industry, reward and encourage heavy drinking, and attract more young drinkers.  Please voice your opposition to alcohol tax cuts and urge rejection of such unwise, industry-backed proposals in the 109th Congress.


Once again, beer and liquor lobbyists have begun to gather congressional support for legislation to slash federal excise taxes on their products.  Rep. Philip English (R-PA) re-introduced H.R. 1306 on March 15, 2005; the bill would cut the federal excise tax on beer in half.  Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced identical legislation (S.722) on April 6.  It is possible that bills to reduce the tax on distilled spirits to its 1951 levels will also be introduced.

Get the scoop on alcohol excise taxes: See our Fact Sheet.
Also, discover the Myths and Facts about alcohol excise taxes.

On March 16, the Coalition for the Prevention of Alcohol Problems (CPAP), which CSPI co-chairs, wrote to every Member of Congress, asking them to refrain from co-sponsoring any alcohol-tax reduction legislation and instead to consider a long-overdue increase in the historically low federal excise taxes.

Click here to read CPAP's Letter to Congress.

Action Needed:

Please write to your Representative and Senators and urge them to oppose any reductions in federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages. Use our sample letter and/or fact sheets to argue that Congress should consider increasing alcoholic beverage taxes.

Beer wholesalers and brewers will be meeting in Washington in early April, so Congress will hear a great deal of tax cut rhetoric. You can help us deliver the real facts to legislators and counter those industry messages—please write today.

Follow these links to look up your legislators’ email or webform addresses:
* In the Senate, click here.
* In the House, click here.


Sample letter:

Dear Senator / Representative _________ :

I am writing to ask that you oppose any reductions in federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, and decline co-sponsorship of bills promoted by the beer and liquor industries to substantially reduce excise taxes on those products (beer-tax rollback bill H.R. 1306/S.722 and any House or Senate bill that may be introduced to reduce beer or liquor taxes).  For the following reasons, such legislation is bad public health and fiscal policy:

  • Current federal and state taxes on alcoholic beverages don’t come close to offsetting the public health and safety costs of alcohol consumption.  If anything, beer and liquor taxes should be raised to help meet prevention, treatment, law enforcement, and other costs associated with excessive and underage drinking.

  • By wide margins, the American public supports increases – not decreases – in alcohol taxes.  That’s because more than 35% don’t drink at all and among those who do, most drink so little that they would barely notice a tax decrease (or increase).  Alcohol tax cuts would benefit only producers and the 20% of drinkers who consume 85% of the alcohol.

  • Federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages are low.  Because those taxes have been little adjusted for decades, the effective rate of taxation on those products has declined dramatically, decreasing real revenues and contributing to a fall in the price of alcoholic beverages relative to other products.

Lower alcohol taxes would only add to the deficit, cater to a prosperous industry, reward and encourage heavy drinking, and attract more young drinkers.  Please reject special-interest industry appeals to lower federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages.  Please consider ways to raise them instead.


Name/Contact Information


Updated March 28, 2005

Related Links:

Factsheet on alcohol excise taxes

Myths and Facts about Alcohol Excise Taxes

CPAP's Letter to Congress

List of current House Co-sponsors

List of current Senate Co-sponsors



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