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