Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Opinion

December 24, 2013

Increased tax would help fund programs

INDIANAPOLIS – While you’re imbibing your favorite Christmas spirits this season, consider this: Would you be willing to pay a few more pennies for the alcohol spicing up your eggnog?

That’s a question that a coalition of criminal justice and mental health officials are putting to legislators.

The group proposes raising the state’s excise tax on liquor, wine and beer by a few cents. It wants to put the money to treatment programs for addicts, in light of a new law aimed at diverting low-level offenders from state prisons and back into their communities.

Aaron Negangard thinks it’s a good idea. The county prosecutor for Ohio and Dearborn counties is a tough-on-crime guy who lobbied hard against the reduced penalties for drug dealing that are in the new law. He sees tough penalties as a hammer he can use to scare and punish illegal-drug profiteers. But he also sees too many addicts cycling through the legal system, going to prison from crimes of burglary and theft to fund their addictions.

“I’m a conservative Republican,” Negangard said. “And I don’t have a problem with putting another nickel tax on a six pack of beer to pay for some good treatment programs.”

Getting the conservative Republicans who control the Statehouse to see it his way is another thing. Gov. Mike Pence wants to repeal the business personal property tax that provides nearly $1 billion to schools, libraries and the local governments that would have to pay for more addiction services.

But no way are Pence or GOP legislative leaders ready to touch the “third rail” issue of raising the alcohol tax, fearful of what they see as a lethal political charge that comes with it.

Veteran Statehouse observer Brian Howey, editor of Howey Politics Indiana, remembers watching what happened when the General Assembly raised the motorcycle registration fee by $10 in 2007. The money was pledged for new efforts to track and research spinal cord and brain injuries. An outcry ensued, Howey said. A year later, that fee was gone.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Low college attainment puts Indiana at a disadvantage For many of us, the phrase Big 10 brings to mind the spirited competition that comes with college sports. It may make us think of rivalries on basketball courts and football fields that have endured decades, tied to our pride in an alma mater or fami

    July 15, 2014

  • New laws benefit Hoosier families The beginning of July has taken on new meaning since I first began serving as your state representative. Not only does it signify the start of a new month, it also represents when many new laws take effect in Indiana. As a continuous advocate for chi

    July 15, 2014

  • Overlooking state's working poor has economic costs The Pence administration is calling for a review of the Indiana tax code. The top goals are to simplify the code and to promote economic development. But another worthy goal, one that would boost the Indiana economy, is missing.First, if the governme

    July 11, 2014

  • Financial hardships mount for military families Days before the July 4th holiday, Holly Petraeus stood on the steps of the imposing Indiana War Memorial in Indianapolis, in front of a bank of cameras, and made a plea to military families: Don’t let pride stand in the way of asking for help. It was

    July 11, 2014

  • I'm thankful for our veterans' sacrifices On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, giving birth to a new nation. To Great Britain and the rest of the world, the U.S. proclaimed itself the proud home of free people. Since that day, on more than one occasion, this freedom h

    July 11, 2014

  • St. Andrews supports food program Dear Editor,St. Andrews Health Campus and its employees are committed to compassionate care that extends well beyond the residents St. Andrews serves. Executive director Gwen Reverman and her staff demonstrate their enduring commitment to this princi

    July 11, 2014

  • Golf classic support appreciated Dear Editor, Oldenburg Academy's 23rd Annual Pro-Am Golf Classic Committee would like to thank the many businesses and individuals who supported our golf outing, especially our event sponsors, food sponsors, advertising buyers and gift donors, along

    July 3, 2014

  • July 4 is a day to cherish liberty My name is John Hosbrook, and I died 216 years ago. My family has asked me to take you on a tour of our Patriot Past. They said you might need a refresher since Twitter, texting and TV dance shows have made you a mite forgetful. Why was I selected fo

    July 3, 2014

  • Homegrown spirits return to state fair INDIANAPOLIS - Mark Webb is counting on patrons of the Indiana State Fair to be better behaved this summer than they were in 1946, when a celebratory post-war crowd almost trashed the place. The bad behavior of beer drinkers 68 years ago is what led

    July 3, 2014

  • A dozen colleges do the conference shuffle The most tenured coach at the University of Louisville might not find joining a new athletic conference so special. But for tennis coach Rex Ecarma, the Cardinals’ move is a moment to celebrate.Ecarma has been at Louisville for 23 seasons, battling t

    July 3, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Facebook