Even Al Capone said that “prohibition never brought anything other than trouble”. His victims were surely a proof of that. It would appear that even in Poland everybody, not only smugglers and moonshiners, now that excise increases do nothing but help the grey market grow – writes President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski in “Rzeczpospolita”.
– Sadly, this is still not a given for the State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems and its director Krzysztof Brzózka, who tries to talk the government into another increase in excise – even more harmful than the previous ones – he adds.
The Agency suggests equalizing excise for all categories of alcoholic beverages, so that the rates for beer and wine are the same as the rates for stronger spirits. According to the authors, such a solution would contribute to lower alcohol consumption and bring in “as much as 7.5 bln PLN of additional tax income”.
– Already at this stage one can suspect that the Agency’s specialists who prepared the draft have contributed to large sums of alcohol excise themselves. If the proposed change makes people drink less, there will not be more excise-related income to the budget. If there is more, than it would mean that people do drink after all. I am aware that in arts and literature postmodern narratives without apparent sense are important and valued by critics, but when it comes to drafting tax regulations I would expect unyielding logic – assesses the President of Employers of Poland.
According to him, previous experiences with increasing excise in order to strengthen the budget, a.o. in the case of cigarettes, show that this in good for anyone other than smugglers and illegal producers.
– Differences in excise rates are not a whim or a result of a lack of oversight or of lobbying, but of the fact that the cost of producing a liter of beer is three times as high as the cost of producing the same quantity of a strong spirit – Malinowski underlines.
– The State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems acts a bit like the famous Pavlov’s dog, who started to drool at the mere sound of a bell. When the Agency hears the word “excise” it automatically responds with “increase” – a response thought to be an infallible cure for all addition-related problems. Thankfully, the Ministry of Finance has already addressed the idea and said “no” – he concludes.