S.F. Supervisors Hear Input on Alcohol Fee To Fund Health Programs
On Wednesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget Committee held a hearing on a proposal by Supervisor John Avalos (D) that would impose a fee on alcoholic beverages to raise funds for paramedic and public health costs linked with alcohol misuse, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
According to the city's Office of Economic Analysis, the fee would add approximately:
- 3 cents to a 12-ounce bottle of beer;
- 3.5 cents to the average hard drink containing 1.5 ounces of alcohol; and
- 4.5 cents to a 6-ounce glass of wine.
Collecting the fee from alcohol wholesalers andÂ distributors would raise an estimated $16.3 million annually to help finance the health services.
Ted Egan, the city's chief economist, said the reduced alcohol consumption resulting from the higher prices could lead to the loss of 50 to 80 jobs annually. He added that the losses could be offset by an increase in contractual positions for health care and social services.
Proponents of the legislation include health care workers, who say alcohol abuse exerts a heavy financial and human toll on the public health system. On Tuesday, the San Francisco Health Commission unanimously voted to support the fee.
However, a spokesperson for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) said the mayor is "not inclined to support the fee" and expects the legislation to be challenged if approved.
Decisions to Come
The budgetÂ committee for the Board of Supervisors is slated to vote on the issue next week. In September, the full Board of Supervisors will consider the proposal (Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/5).
On Wednesday, NPR's "Morning Edition" reported on San Francisco's proposed alcohol fee (Myrow, "Morning Edition," NPR, 8/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.