By Bob Katzen
State Treasurer Deb Goldberg’s Alcohol Task Force that she formed in February issued its report with 37 recommendations, including raising the excise tax on beer, wine and liquor; increasing the fines for violations of laws relating to alcohol; spending an additional $3.1 million per year for hiring 30 new investigators and 15 staff members for the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC); and making some operational changes to the ABCC.
“Studies provide consistent evidence that higher alcohol prices and alcohol taxes are associated with reductions in both excessive alcohol consumption and related harms,” the task force report stated.
The task force noted that the ways to purchase alcohol, including online, are changing with technology. “Buying habits of younger generations are evolving, and the market itself is changing as evidenced by increasing numbers of craft and farmer breweries, wineries, and distilleries in Massachusetts and across the country,” the task force reported.
Other changes recommended by the commission include increasing the maximum alcohol content for cider from 6 percent to 8.5 percent; allowing bars to accept out-of-state photo IDs; and eliminating the limit on the number of alcohol licenses grocery store chains can hold.