Proposed Boston-only Booze Tax ‘Won’t Stand,’ Says Blanchards Manager

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Chris Helms

Paul Myrer, manager of Blanchards Wine and Spirits in JP.

Paul Myrer, manager of Blanchards Wine and Spirits in JP." credit=" 

Chris Helms

You may have heard that City Councilor Bill Linehan, freshly minted as council president, has floated a 6.25 percent tax on alcohol.

Proceeds would be funneled to substance-abuse prevention programs in the city, according to Boston Magazine.

Paul Myrer, manager of the Blanchards at 741 Centre St., doesn't see Linehan's effort gaining traction.

"I'm guessing it probably won't stand," Myrer said on Thursday.

The longtime Blanchards boss has history on his side. Alcohol had been exempt from sales taxes before 2009, when the legislature imposed a 6.25 percent levy. But voters narrowly overturned the sales tax a year later. Like Linehan's Boston-only sales tax proposal, dollars from the state-wide levy also funded substance abuse prevention programs.

During the year the tax was in place, Myrer reports it didn't hurt the JP store's business too much, except for bulk purchasers who made the trek to New Hampshire. After all, you could get a 30-pack of Bud Light for $16 across the border when it cost $22 in JP.

Proponents of higher booze taxes point out that Massachusetts residents abuse alcohol at a higher rate than the national average.