The director of the National Centre of Addiction Medicine (SÁÁ) believes bars and clubs should pay higher taxes due to the costs they inflict on society.
Gunnar Smári Egilsson, writing on SÁÁ’s website, said he believes that for the most part, “people want to privatise the profits and nationalise the losses.” He uses as an example cars, saying that despite high taxes on petrol and the vehicles themselves, they do not cover the costs society has to pay out in terms of traffic accidents, pollution and road work.
He then directs his attention to Reykjavík’s numerous bars and clubs, saying, “Those who run bars and clubs in downtown Reykjavík pay fees to society, just like any other company, but not in keeping with the direct cost that the city and state have to pay due to these businesses.” He cites the numerous visits from police to such places, emergency room visits made by people who end up in fights or overdrink at these places, and the street cleaners who clean up the refuse left behind in the morning from a night of revelry.
By raising taxes on these places, he argues, they will pay more for their share of what they cost other taxpayers. Over time, he believes this will also lead to the number of bars and clubs decreasing and their opening hours shortening.
It should be noted, however, that Gunnar Smári cites absolutely no source for his assertion that bars and clubs do not already pay for what they cost society, nor does he provide figures for what these costs might be.