Wednesday, December 03, 2008

And... Drink Tax

It find it scary when Monsieur Briem and I have similar reactions to the reduction on the drink tax by County Council.

Now, the reduction on the drink tax should mean that you unwashed masses can enjoy your Natural Light, your Bud Light, or your (God help you) Pabst Blue Ribbon for 30% less than you do now. Although if you're drinking any of those things, you're drinking less already... at least qualitatively.

However, as we've seen from the partial parking tax repeal (you remember that right?), just because the city decided to lower the parking tax, doesn't mean that the benefits will accrue to the consumers. The Parking Authority itself had to be dragged kicking and screaming to reducing its prices.

Of course, Monsieur Briem has also elsewhere mused on the elasticity of the demand for parking, i.e., people are willing to pay pretty much any damned price for parking downtown.

Now, high class drunks like myself would probably consider the hootch to be similarly inelastic, but, there are those that may decide that a drink at a bar is far too much money and would choose not to spend money going out. Indeed, this seems to be nub of the argument by F.A.C.T.: increasing taxes means that fewer people will spend money at local businesses, resulting in business closings, job losses, cats and dogs living together... you know, end of the world stuff. So, I can only assume, by F.A.C.T.'s argument, that if the drink tax goes down and prices therefore go dowm, more people will resume patronizing local eateries, bars, taverns, strip clubs, etc., and all will be well.

Unless, of course, (1) there's only a small, small marginal segment of the population that wasn't willing to pay an extra $.25 for their bottle of sex-in-a-canoe, and therefore the real impact to business is negligible or (2) the restaurateurs are aware of the stickiness of these the new drink, inflated prices and are not going to bloody well change them.

As for yours truly, the drink tax never really affected me much as I only ever drank alone, at home, in the dark anyway.

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