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SF Supes Will Vote Soon On New Alcohol Fee

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Today's meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will include the first reading on a new alcohol tax, targeting wholesalers to SF bars, nightclubs and grocery stores. Eleventh district supervisor John Avalos has proposed the tax as a means to payback the $17.7 million San Francisco spends yearly on emergency room visits, prevention programs, a sobering center, Fire Department ambulance transports and other costs linked to excessive drinking. The fee is estimated to pull in an additional $16 million per year, but many industry reps think it unfairly targets smaller businesses, as larger retailers like Safeway will be able to redistribute its effects more easily due to other income streams. For consumers, the proposed fee will translate roughly to an additional 3 cents on a 12-ounce bottle of beer, 4.5 cents on a 6-ounce glass of wine and 3.5 cents on a standard cocktail.

Five out of the 11 supes, including 2011 mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty think it's too much to impose on our bars and nightclubs during these tough economic times. But the ordinance only needs 6 "yes" votes to move forward. Then the whole thing will need mayor Gavin Newsom's approval. As of now he's against the tax for the same reason as Dufty. While there are grass roots campaigns to get Dufty to change his tune, others are calling it "the most retarted piece of legislation ever" and calling for another tea party to "THROW THE SUPES IN THE BAY!" Our last call to the Board of Supervisors' HQ hinted that the meeting may be postponed until next week as they are trying to decide if the proper newspaper coverage has been filed leading up to the meeting. Welcome to a day in the life of The City gov. And do stay tuned. [Update: As suspected, the alcohol fee item will not have its first reading today at the Board's meeting because the official advertisement announcing the agenda was not published in the San Francisco Examiner as required. They are still deciding when the item will be heard, possibly at a special meeting later this week or at next Tuesday's regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting. An official announcement regarding the postponed reading will be made today at 2 p.m.]

SF Supes Set To Consider New Alcohol Fee [CBS 5]
Alcohol fee proposal: Anticipated victory may be short lived [CI]
Supes to tackle fee for alcohol as recess ends [Examiner]
Few Favor Proposed Booze Fee [Mission Loc@l]
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SF Supervisor John Avalos proposed the alcohol tax. [Photo: Chron/ Lea Suzuki]