Letters to the Editor

Alcohol taxes

July 18, 2010


To the editor:

Unfortunately your article and editorial on liquor taxes failed to encompass all the facts, not just those intended to support your premise.

There are four levels of taxation on beverage alcohol in Kansas. The federal government taxes spirits at $13.50 a proof gallon, the state taxes spirits again at $2.50 a gallon when it arrives in the warehouse, another 8 percent tax is charged at the retail liquor store, and a 10 percent tax is charged the consumer when they buy a drink at the restaurant. Local government receives three-fourths of the drink tax proceeds.

So when you do the math using a $10.49 liter of spirits, that’s $2.85 to the U.S.A., 66 cents to Kansas for gallonage tax, another 84 cents on the retail sale and, with 33 drinks/liter at $3.50 a drink, another $11.55 in tax, of which the city gets $8.66 for a total tax on that one liter bottle of $15.90. There is more tax generated on that bottle than the value of its contents. That is not true for other consumables upon which just the sales tax applies.

We do not have an undertaxing problem on spirits in Kansas, as your editorial and article imply. The Kansas Legislature could do the math and, as a result, for valid reasons, did not increase taxes on beverage alcohol. Next time please do all the math, not just that part of the calculation to fit your premise.

R.E. “Tuck” Duncan,

Kansas Wine & Spirits

Wholesalers Association,



John Hamm 7 years, 9 months ago

Gee I wonder why this letter was written. Too bad it ignores the basic premise of the "article." That being the "tax" as a percentage is lower for liquor than for food. Nice try at spin but it failed - miserably!

chocolateplease 7 years, 9 months ago

Let me get this straight.... Alcohol taxes are already high in comparison with food, especially when you include taxes paid on drinks served in bars and restaurants? Well, what kind of comparison is that? Food purchased by bars and restaurants is taxed too (just like alcohol), and then people pay taxes on meals served at those places! How ridiculous that the writer would include retail drink sales taxes in the comparison while leaving out restaurant meal taxes.

I guess to be fair, he isn't really mentioning food taxes at all. He just cares about keeping alcohol taxes from rising so that alcohol sales won't be negatively impacted. It would have been nice if he could have at least said that up front while acknowledging the regressive and difficult situation low-income people face when groceries are taxed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

"Food purchased by bars and restaurants is taxed too "

In Kansas, likely not. Most businesses that are required to collect sales taxes do not pay sales taxes on the raw ingredients from their suppliers, and I assume that it is true for restaurants.

notajayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Brilliant comments so far.

Even if you take out the by-the-drink sales tax, after the federal and state gallonage taxes, that bottle has already been taxed at a rate that's approximately 3/4's of the sales price. Quick: Name a food product that is taxed at that kind of rate.

I'll wait.

kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

My idea is drop all food tax at the retail end. Raise alcohol taxes , due to the added strain on police and law enforcement on Alcohol related problems.Food doesnt drive and kill.Food doesnt run over road signs that have to be replaced. Drunks kill and destroy all kinds of stuff that costs everyone dearly. Add $10.00 to a 12 pack add $25.00 to a bottle of booze. You tax smokes at $23.00 a carton, so bring it up to a level tax field. I am all for a huge tax on booze. The first tax i have been in favor of in years. Tax em hard boys.

notajayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Now there's a typical Lawrence (liberal) attitude:

Reduce MY taxes, raise them for someone ELSE.

notajayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Oooh, eddie, sounds like a little projection there. A little too much imbibing before you typed tonight? As usual?

Maybe the rest of us don't want to pay for your unhealthy eating habits, eddie. Oh, forgot - the typical whine of the loser-lefties: But ... but ... but that's different.

As I said, a typical leftist-liberal-Larryville attitude: Tax someone ELSE. What a leech.

whatupdown 7 years, 9 months ago

Alcohol; death and despair in a bottle, poison, if this garbage is legal then why not legalize drugs too.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 9 months ago

...why not legalize OTHER drugs too..... Alcohol is a drug, no way around it, and a lot more dangerous and harmful than, say, hashish.
Conveniently packaged and vastly profitable. On that bottle the writer above referred to, he complains about the $15.90, and forgets to point to the take of 117.50. That's a pretty good hunk of markup.

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