The Dirty Dozen: 12 States That Bet Big on Sin

By Nikhil Hutheesing - 2013-06-26T17:36:00Z

Photograph by Fyne Photos/eStock 

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Sin Taxes, Percentage of Revenue: 4.42%
Total Sin Tax Revenue (2012): $1.46 billion

There’s lots of talk in Pennsylvania about getting the state government out of the booze business. Today, if you want to buy a bottle of wine, you must go to a state-authorized store. If you have wine shipped in from out of state, the law says you have to ship it to one of the 600 state stores for pickup -- where you’d then pay state taxes and a state markup. One tax, the 18 percent Johnstown Flood Tax, dates back to 1936 and is added to all state store purchases. A new proposal would nix that tax and privatize alcohol sales. Proponents of the plan say the increase in sales would generate $170 million in additional revenue, which could be used for property tax relief for senior citizens and to fund rape-crisis and domestic-violence programs, among other things.