In case any of you saw the article in the New Mexican this morning and are also wondering why I voted against the “liquor tax bill”:

The reason I voted as I did is that there’s another bill introduced (HB527) that brings much quicker relief to counties for alcohol treatment. We all understand this is a huge problem and I want the cities and counties to have the resources to provide treatment and prevention of substance abuse.

HB212 (the bill that failed) would leave it up to voters in November of 2014 to raise taxes. By the time taxes are collected, the counties might start to see these monies in 2015 or 2016. HB527, which was introduced by Rep. Jim Trujillo, the bill I support, would bring much quicker relief and is good government.

I have learned that many excise taxes are collected and then raided and used for something else. As a citizen legislator, I think it is only fair that excise taxes that are collected for a particular purpose should be used for for that purpose.

In the case of the liquor excise tax, about 43 million is collected annually, but only 16 million is used for what it was intended to be used for. HB527 if enacted, would mandate that 75% of the 44 million would go to the treatment and prevention of substance abuse. This would double the monies (32 million) and would be available on July 1, 2013.

As is often (usually) the case in politics, there is more to the story than the press reported…