San Francisco supervisors are set to decide next month if the city will become the first local government in the state to impose a fee on alcohol to help pay for alcohol abuse expenses.
At Monday’s City Hall public hearing, local bar owners spoke out.
If passed, the proposed alcohol fee is expected to generate $15 million a year and save taxpayers from paying for alcohol related health expenses like treatment programs and emergency medical care.
But several owners of small bars in San Francisco told the supervisors budget and finance committee, they can’t afford any added costs. One also works as a schoolteacher.
“I understand that we need these services, we need these services to be paid,” said Kevin Murphy. “But at the same time, I’m a bartender.”
Murphy said the fee would hurt his business because of the costs wholesalers would pass on– estimated to be about another five cents per drink.
However, youth counselor Mike Pedro said the fee would save programs that help kids stay sober.
“We know that youth is a very vulnerable population to the harms of alcohol,” he said.
The full board is set to take up the so-called booze fee on September 7th.