Rift between Democrats dooms this year’s alcohol tax push

The push to change the state’s taxes on alcohol all but ended Friday when the House Taxation & Revenue Committee voted down one bill and declined to take action on another. Chairman Rep. Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, encouraged the bills’ sponsors to re-work their proposals in the coming months. But with no other measures advancing to address the state’s worst-in-the-nation rate of alcohol-related deaths, the Legislature kicked the can down the road on one of the state’s leading public health crises. Unlike last year, when an effort to raise alcohol taxes provoked vociferous opposition by beverage makers and retailers, dooming the proposal, the most important fissure this year was within the group supporting changes in alcohol taxes. In deliberations that stretched over two days, the tax committee considered divergent proposals.