"Charge for Harm" Rally and Hearing on Wednesday August 4th

This Wednesday August 4th should prove to be a spirited (har) morning, when there will be a rally (10am) and public hearing (11am) about the City’s proposed ~CHARGE FOR HARM~ ordinance. Supervisor John Avalos has introduced legislation which will create a new fee on all alcoholic beverages sold in the City and County of San Francisco. We’re talking about an Alcohol Mitigation Fee at the rate of $.076 per ounce of alcohol sold in San Francisco. Alcoholic beverage wholesalers, and certain other businesses who sell alcohol in San Francisco without wholesalers in the distribution chain, must pay the fee (not a tax) quarterly to the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector.

It’s designed to reimburse the City for the following costs: the unreimbursed health care costs of treating alcohol-attributable conditions, the unreimbursed costs of emergency transport due to alcohol, alcohol prevention and treatment programs administered by the Department of Public Health, and administration costs, including but not limited to fee collection, investigation, and enforcement costs. (One study concludes that the City may annually recover alcohol-attributable costs up to $18 million.) Click here for more information on this ordinance on the Small Business Commission website, which would begin in Fiscal Year 2012-2013.

On one side at the rally, there will be “labor, youth, firefighters, treatment, prevention, and health-care providers,” and on the other, industry folks, who are gathering local support against the ordinance. You can read a response from the SBC, which states, “A primary concern is that this fee, charged to wholesalers, will be passed on directly to retailers.” The public hearing is in the City Hall Legislative Chamber (Room 250) with the Finance Committee.