Atlanta wants to hike taxes on your cocktails

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You got your booze on Sundays, gay Atlanta cocktailers. But now Mayor Kasim Reed wants to raise nearly $13 million in new revenue by boosting taxes on your beer, wine and liquor.

Reed, and his predecessor, have tried this before. But in an ironic twist, gays who booze have been saved from the boost in alcohol taxes by the same conservative Georgia lawmakers at the Gold Dome who banned gay marriage and won’t protect LGBT state workers. They’ve got to approve Reed’s request and have ignored it in the past.

But that isn’t stopping the mayor. His legislative package, recently approved by the Atlanta City Council, would increase the excise tax on the sale of distilled spirits, hike per drink tax for alcohol from 3 percent to 5 percent and create a new tax that would add a 5 percent upcharge on beer and wine.

Expect those last two to be passed on directly to you, the mayor says in the legislative package.

The cost associated with this tax would be passed on to members of the drinking public that dine in restaurants and socialize in bars and taverns within the City of Atlanta. The enforcement of this tax would not create any additional expenses to the City and could be regulated in the same manner as the tax-by-the-drink on mixed drinks that is currently being levied.

When Reed offered a similar proposal ahead of the 2011 legislative session, it came after he and the council signed off on steep increases in license fees for bars, clubs and restaurants at a time when they refused to even study the possibility of returning bar hours to pre-2003 levels. It’s an issue that has rankled gay bar owners, who complained to City Council member Alex Wan, the council’s only openly gay member, during a meeting in early November. Wan added more cold water to extended bar hours last March.

Drink up. It soon may be more expensive. At least you’ve still got your cheap Cheshire Bridge porn. Oh, wait.


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