LINCOLN, Neb. (CN) – Nebraska has undertaxed sweet-flavored alcoholic “pops” for 8 years, costing the state millions of dollars in lost taxes, three public health groups say. The Public Health Association of Nebraska says the state “abused its power” by taxing the booze at the “beer” rate of 31 cents per gallon instead of the “spirits” rate of $3.75 per gallon.
The plaintiffs, which include the nonprofit groups Project Extra Mile and PRIDE-Omaha, say the Liquor Control Commission’s tax rates are particularly offensive because the sweet “alcopops” are aimed at young and underage drinkers.
Most alcopops “derived more than three-quarters of their alcohol content from the addition of distilled spirits,” according to studies by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the complaint states.
The plaintiffs say the booze-makers’ reduced tax helps them spend money pushing the alcopops to young drinkers.
The plaintiffs want the court to order the state to tax the flavored booze as spirits. They are represented by Vince Powers.