Thursday, April 10, 2008

Who is Jim Beall, Jr?

“As responsible corporate citizens, breweries should be willing to pay their fair share of the damage that alcohol wreaks on society" - Jim Beall, Jr.
OK, I'm going to try and be cool headed about this one, even though I'm not really feeling that way now. MSNBC ran this story today about a new plan, introduced to state assembly, that will tax brewers for the evils the sell. The fact this is in MSNBC's "Health" section bothers me too, but that's another story.

Jim Beall, Jr is a California Assembly Member for the 24th District and he feels that the beer industry has created a "staggering burden" on the state and now wants it to pay its dues. His bright idea? Impose an excise tax that will raise $2 Billion for the state, because well all know that's all the state needs. It seems like Beall doesn't really have a plan for the money, only that it "could" be used for "health and law enforcement services", again asserting it's only right because of all the burden beer places on the these services. It appears Beall also sits on a drug and alcohol committee, scary considering assertions like this - which just doesn't even make sense if you think about it for more than a half second.
More than 70% of the costs of prison, parole, local criminal justice and child welfare are the result of untreated alcohol and other drug problems.
Look at the above link to see some more of the bills listed, the one on screening and "brief intervention" for expecting mothers is particularly troubling.

Here's the grand idea. He wants you, the beer consumer, to pay $1.80 per six pack extra, that's 30 cents a can or bottle. Think about that for a minute, will you? Pretend you're a Bud fan, just for the sake of argument. Right now in California you can buy a six-pack of Bud for right around six bucks, after tax and CRV. Don't you think tacking on an extra buck-eighty is a bit insane?!

Imagine a legislator suggesting we pay 30 cents extra for a $1 bottle of Coke, or for an item off a fast-food value menu. Doesn't research suggest that these are bigger concerns for our state's than alcohol abuses? Don't get me wrong, I don't support a tax for those items either, but following Beall's logic you'd assume that would be on the table as well.

Oh, if it were only the taxes too...

In his list of complaints Beall lists curbing underage drinking, because we all know this will help with that. He sites "research" in all this, research that sounds an awful lot like that coming from the Marin Institute - remember them? In fact, he uses the same tired arguments about the evils of beer, and beer alone mind you.

The 24th District

Take a look at the map below. If you have friends that live in this area, call Beall's office and tell him what you think of his short-sighted plan to save the state's budget, kids and crime rates. For far too long his excuses have been used to justify heavy taxation for beer lovers, he needs to know that you disagree with his assumptions and conclusions, and that the "research", when seen in a much broader context, actually does not support them.