Now that we are "officially" in a recession, it is no secret that many state governments are in a bit of a negative cash flow situation. Given that New York State depends on Wall Street for roughly 20% of revenues, it shouldn't be shocking that we are in a bit more of a fiscal bind than most. Governor David Paterson today released his sure-to-be-popular proposed budget, which is designed to spread the pain around to, apparently, everyone who has ever lived in, visited, or heard of New York.** One unpleasant "revenue action" (how's that for a euphemism?) that happened to catch my eye: a more than 100% increase in the excise on beer.
Increase Beer and Wine Tax Rates. Increases the excise tax on wine and beer to approximately the average of surrounding states. The tax on wine would increase from 18.9 cents per gallon to 51 cents per gallon, and the beer tax would increase from 11 cents per gallon to 24 cents per gallon. Alcohol excise taxes were last increased in 1991.Ouch. It's not as ugly as the excise increase on wine, but he is proposing allowing the sale of wine in grocery stores. Oh, yeah, there would also be an "obesity tax" on the sale of non-diet soda (or pop, depending on from whence in the state you hail). Times are tough all over.
** It should be noted that I think Governor Paterson is doing, to this point, a fairly credible job in a rather untenable situation.