CNHI Statehouse Bureau
---- — While you're imbibing your favorite Christmas spirits this season, consider this: Would you be willing to pay a few more pennies for the alcohol spicing up your eggnog?
That's a question a coalition of criminal justice and mental health officials are putting to legislators.
The group proposes raising the state's excise tax on liquor, wine and beer by a few cents. It wants to put the money to treatment programs for addicts in light of a new law aimed at diverting low-level offenders from state prisons and back into their communities.
Aaron Negangard thinks it's a good idea. The county prosecutor for Ohio and Dearborn counties is a tough-on-crime guy who lobbied hard against the reduced penalties for drug dealing that are in the new law. He sees tough penalties as a hammer he can use to scare and punish illegal-drug profiteers. But he also sees too many addicts cycling through the legal system, going to prison for crimes of burglary and theft to fund their addictions.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.