Yes on Question 1 spells misery for the vulnerable

November 5, 2010

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RE “VOTERS limit repeals to alcohol sales tax’’ (Metro, Nov. 3): Tuesday’s yes vote on Question 1, repealing the alcohol sales tax, just doesn’t make sense. This vote means an estimated loss of $110 million in revenue targeted for prevention and treatment programs throughout Massachusetts. The impact on some of the most vulnerable individuals and families devastated by alcohol abuse is incalculable.

It took the big muscle of the liquor industry and its hefty wallet to eliminate the surcharge tax placed on liquor, beer, and wine. Some store owners said the tax was causing them to lose customers to tax-free New Hampshire. However, in the last 12 months, few package stores saw a drop in alcohol sales and many had revenues far higher than projected.

In 1960, my 33-year-old father got behind the wheel of his car drunk, and hit another vehicle head on. The young driver of the other car lost his legs and never walked again. My father died on impact, leaving behind three small children.

For years, the sale of alcohol in Massachusetts has been treated as a necessity along with clothing and food, despite the serious harm it can create in people’s lives. This tax served as recognition that alcohol, like cigarettes, should not be considered a necessity, and created a fair way to fund important services.

My father never had a chance to understand the effect alcohol was having on his life until it was too late.

Jonathan D. Scott
President and executive director
Victory Programs Inc.