Employment Impacts of Alcohol Taxes
Introduction and method
There is strong scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of increasing alcohol taxes for reducing [heavy] alcohol consumption and related problems. Opponents have argued that alcohol tax increases lead to job losses. However, there has been no comprehensive economic analysis of the impact of alcohol taxes on employment.
To fill this gap, a regional macroeconomic simulation model was used to assess the net impact of two hypothetical alcohol tax increases (a 5-cent per [beverage] excise tax increase and a 5% sales tax increase on beer, wine, and distilled spirits, respectively) on employment in Arkansas, Florida, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. The model accounted for changes in alcohol demand, average state income, and substitution effects. The employment impact of spending the new tax revenue on general expenditures versus health care was also assessed.
Simulation results showed that a 5-cent per [beverage] additional excise tax on alcoholic beverages with new tax revenues allocated to general expenditures increased net employment in Arkansas (802 jobs); Florida (4583 jobs); Massachusetts (978 jobs); New Mexico (653 jobs); and Wisconsin (1167 jobs). A 5% additional sales tax also increased employment in Arkansas (789 jobs; Florida (4493 jobs); Massachusetts (898 jobs); New Mexico (621 jobs); and Wisconsin (991 jobs). Using new alcohol tax revenues to fund health care services resulted in slightly lower net increases in state employment.
The overall economic impact of alcohol tax increases cannot be fully assessed without accounting for the job gains resulting from additional tax revenues.