A San Francisco supervisor on
Monday Tuesday proposed to charge alcohol wholesalers and distributors in the city “for the harm of alcohol consumption.”
An ordinance introduced by Supervisor John Avalos would establish an “alcohol mitigation fee” — 7.6 cents per ounce of ethanol, or about 4.5 cents for a standard drink, Avalos said–in order to help defray the city’s costs for treating alcohol-related problems.
Avalos said the city is not reimbursed for more than $17 million per year in health care costs for treatment, emergency ambulance transport, alcohol prevention and treatment programs, and administrative costs.
He said that with substance abuse services in the city facing elimination due to budget cuts, the fee would help protect programs by recovering just under $17 million annually.
The fee, though, would not take effect until January if approved.
Avalos cited statistics from the city’s Department of Public Health showing that alcohol use is a major cause of premature deaths for San Franciscans.
He acknowledged that if the fee were approved, there is no guarantee it wouldn’t be passed on to consumers.