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Mixed drink tax brings pricier drinks to the Borderland

By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- On New Year's Day, bars and restaurants across the state of Texas began taxing consumers 8.25 percent for mixed drinks.

The new tax stems from Texas House Bill 3572 reduces the amount restaurants and bars pay on mixed drinks.

Restaurants and bars have gone from paying a 14 percent tax to a 6.7 percent tax.

Michelle Armenta, general manager of Adrian's Lounge in central El Paso, the new law is expected to save their bar thousands of dollars a year.

"I think a lot of it will lead to us hiring more people and will put more improvement into the business," Armenta said. "It's going to be quite a positive change."

However, the new mixed drink law means consumers will be picking up that extra tax.

"You'll have your mixed beverage, your beer or your wine, your liquor and the itemized charge will be of the 18 cents or 20 cents added on to the price of the beer," Armenta said.

The price consumers will pay for mixed drinks in 2014 depends on the bar.

At Adrian's, they are keeping the price the same and the new tax is the only extra amount consumers will pay.

Some bars throughout the state of tax are considering lowering their prices to offset the added tax.

Not everyone in El Paso who frequently orders mixed drinks is happy about the tax.

"It kind of sucks already that you're getting taxed for everything else and now getting boozed up and having fun you're getting taxed," said Jennifer Melendez from Central El Paso.

However, other pay whatever they have to for a mixed drink at their favorite bar.

"If I can't afford the 18 cents tax, I probably shouldn't be drinking anyway," said Tyrrell Mason, from Central El Paso.

The new tax is expected to bring in $21 million in state revenue.