New Mexico’s breweries, wineries, distilleries, restaurants, bars, and hospitality sectors play a significant role in our state’s culture and economy. However, these businesses have faced unprecedented challenges in recent years. From inflation and supply chain disruptions to employee shortages and natural disasters, they have tirelessly worked to keep costs down and provide quality experiences for their patrons.

Understanding the socio-economic fabric of New Mexico is essential, particularly given its predominantly working-class population. The contemplation of a tax increase, such as the proposed 25¢ per drink levy, warrants thorough consideration. This tax is projected to generate $275 million in revenue, yet it disproportionately impacts the state’s hardworking residents. For example, the cost of a six-pack of beer would rise by $2.63, a thirty-pack by $13.16, and a bottle of spirits could see an $8.00 increase at retail outlets.

It’s important that the state government adopts an approach that does not increase the financial strain on consumers. Instead, the focus should be on leveraging 100% of existing liquor tax revenues to effectively support and empower community members struggling with addiction. This can be achieved by investing in evidence-based treatment and services, thereby addressing the root of the issue without imposing additional burdens on this population.

It is evident that New Mexico faces complex challenges, and addressing substance abuse requires a multifaceted approach. Rather than focusing solely on taxation, we need to understand and tackle the underlying issues that drive substance abuse in our state.

In conclusion, New Mexico’s hospitality industry needs tax stability, not increases. It is imperative for our elected officials to consider the broader implications of any proposed tax changes and work towards solutions that support the recovery and growth of our local businesses while addressing the root causes of substance abuse in our communities.