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Calif. lawmaker aims to tax all cocktails sold in restaurants and bars

California Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) this week introduced a bill aiming to add a 5-cent tax to every cocktail sold in the state’s restaurants and bars.

Funds collected from the tax, referred to as the Cocktails for Healthy Outcomes Act, would go toward funding transportation and support programs for people with developmental disabilities.

Assembly Bill 18 would help ensure compliance with the state’s Lanterman Act, a law passed in 1969 that provides people with disabilities access to receive community services, according to a press release from Bonilla’s office.

Though Bonilla insists the tax would be a “very small change,” those in the restaurant industry will likely assume a different view. 

"I applaud her efforts to find funding, but why pick on cocktails?" Golden Gate Restaurant Association Executive Director Gwyneth Borden told the San Francisco Business Times. "It makes no sense that cocktails were selected, and dining is already expensive enough."

A tax, no matter how small, could deter consumers from dining out, Borden noted, adding that people should be encouraged to go to bars and restaurants, as hospitality and tourism are large revenue generators for the state.

If passed, the act would go into effect Jan. 1, 2016. 

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