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Bar owners blast sin tax

Booze-loving Calgary bar-goers should expect to pay more for a pint or a cocktail thanks to jacked provincial sin taxes, say miffed proprietors.

Booze-loving Calgary bar-goers should expect to pay more for a pint or a cocktail thanks to jacked provincial sin taxes, say miffed proprietors.

The province’s 2009 budget unveiled Tuesday took direct aim at beer and spirits, hiking taxes on a 12-pack of beer by $1.30 and a 750-millilitre liquor bottle by $2.85.

And the news is not being welcomed by bar owners, who say the taxes coupled with a 4.6 per cent hike in Alberta’s minimum wage that took effect April 1 will likely result in bigger bills for loyal customers.

“There’s going to be a certain amount of trickle down, no question, for our customers,” said Bruce MacKenzie, owner of Riverbend Station at 40 Riverglen Dr. S.E.

“If you’re looking for a way to recoup a five per cent minimum wage increase and then you get whacked with another 20 per cent on liquor, its going to impact customers.”

Wayne Leong, owner of Melrose Cafe and Bar at 730 - 17 Ave. S.W., said it’s too early to speculate on the impact, but noted it will be a balancing act for what his establishment can afford and what increases will be accepted by customers after the new taxes take effect.

“We’re going to look at what we can cut in certain areas and what our guests can afford,” he said.

“I’ve never seen an increase like this.”

The province also added $3 to the cost of a carton of cigarettes.

 
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