A bill to increase taxes on beers and liquors has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Hokkons Baules. The bill proposes to increase tax on non-fruit based drinks by 200% and reduce tax on fruit based alcohol drinks by 50%.
The Senate bill seek to raise import taxes on beers from 3 cents per ounce to 9 cents per ounce. With the most common size of beer being 12 oz, this increase will mean that import taxes will go up from $0.36 cents to $1.08 per regular can of beer. As result, a can of Budweiser which is currently sold at $1.85 each will increase to $2.57 per can given this tax increase. Retailers will also have to adjust prices of popular beers such as Heineken from $1.70 to $2.42 each. Furthermore, liquors will also have significant price increase since the proposal also aim to raise the tax of all liquors from $0.30 to $0.40 per ounce.
However, this bill intends to drive down the price of fruit-based alcohol such as wine from 20 cents down to 10 cents per ounce which will mean this type of alcoholic beverages will see a great decrease in prices.
On a phone interview, Senate President Hokkons Baules stated that wines and other fruit-based alcohols are used in cooking and for other culinary purposes. It is also sometimes recommended by doctors for its health benefits, thus the justification of its proposed tax reduction.
During a Senate session, Senator Jonathan Isechal voiced his support to this bill stating these taxes are beneficial since 10% of alcohol and tobacco taxes are earmarked by law to support national medical insurance and Non-communicable disease programs. This proposed law passed the first reading and assigned to the Ways & Means Committee for further review. (By Eoghan Olkeriil Ngirudelsang)