Monday, February 9, 2009


[Note: This is a copy of the letter I personally sent to the KY State Reps., State Senators, and the Governor in response to a proposed 6% Sales Tax on Wine & Spirits. The state already commands an 11% Wholesale tax already factored into retail prices here in the state.]

To our elected officials:

Dear sirs and madam, I first should begin by saying how infuriated I am fast becoming with the whole lot of you. I came to Kentucky 6 years ago to work for a very successful wine store group here in Northern Kentucky because of the great opportunities it presented me in the industry that I have been passionate for ever since I entered the food and beverage business in 1989. During my nearly 7 years with this company, we have become one of the premier wine and spirits retailers in the region, with much of our business coming across the river to enjoy the savings we are currently able to offer them. Our stores have worked diligently to provide these customers knowledgeable service, phenomenal selection of wines from around the world, and prices that are far and away cheaper here than in Ohio. I would venture to say that 60-70% of our business is derived from Ohioans thanks largely to their state being a “control” state – where pricing is set by the state and is considerably higher than here in the great commonwealth of Kentucky.

And while I understand the potential increase in the tobacco tax, I do not comprehend the rationale behind increasing the alcohol tax to a total of 17%, which should make our state the highest tax rate on alcohol in the country. The loss of jobs – something I think you should be fighting to preserve for your constituents – will be significant and your areas of representation will be extremely burdened due to your obvious shortsightedness.

I am personally vested in this legislation. My wife is on disability and my financial situation is already substantial due to rising health care costs. My company is forced to drop me from their group policy thanks to health care spiraling out of control, problems born at least in part to glaring incompetence in regulating the industry here in the state.

The businesses here in Northern Kentucky always seem to have to shoulder the load so to speak for the counties that fail to rise above their archaic principles and join the 21st Century. Seems to me that it would make more sense to turn all of the “dry” counties that still exist (which by my calculations is approximately two-thirds of the entire commonwealth) to wet, enabling the state government to gain more tax revenue off the already-existing 11% that you get from us retailers in the existing wet counties. Why should we taxpayers in Northern Kentucky have to do more when those that live in dry counties do virtually nothing to help with the economic shortfalls of the state? And why do we who do business in alcohol have to feel guilty for what we do by shelling out more taxes when other industries are not subjected to this obvious political bias?

And do you seriously want to send people back across the river because they can no longer afford to patronize business here in Northern Kentucky? People just don’t come here to shop for wine and spirits. They buy gas, fast food, dine in area restaurants, shop in area shopping centers – it’s not sound business what you are about to do.

It would be colossally na├»ve of me to believe that there will be any response to this letter in any other form than the standard “form” letter, professing the myopic benefits you believe this tax increase will yield so I will be posting PDF copies of this letter on our wine store’s Web site, my wine blog page, and I will be forwarding this to all of my fellow bloggers and reporters across the country in the hopes of at least, creating a problematic media issue for you all.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kevin Keith
Wine Buyer/Blogger
Liquor Direct Wine & Spirits
670 W. 3rd St./90 Alexandria Pk. #1C
Covington, KY 41017/Fort Thomas, KY 41075


Rob Bralow said...

Best of luck to you Keith. They are raising taxes on wine and alcohol all over. Living in NYC, the proposal is sure to shut down more of the smaller independent shops in each borough of the city.

Mike said...

Got your back on this one, K2...