Drink up tonight, because tomorrow you will pay more!


  A new law that takes effect on January first will jack up the state tax on booze.  Michael Klein with the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance tells 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason that the tax that businesses pay on the liquor they buy will drop from 14% to 6.7%, but at the same time, a new 'mixed beverage sales tax' of 8.25% will take effect for consumers.  That brings the tax on mixed drinks to the same level that consumers have long paid for beer and wine.


  Klein says the end result is a much more confusing situation for bar owners, and, potentially, for consumers.


  "Up until now, the way the mixed beverage tax worked for mixed beverage licensees, was that you simply, at the end of the month, you paid 14% on your gross receipts of mixed beverage sales.


  He says that was easy to figure out.  But the new law is far murkier.


  "It was a simple calculation; it was a 14% tax on gross receipts of mixed beverage sales.  A simple calculation, correct?"


  But now it is anything but simple.


  He says a business can add the new 8.25% tax to the remaining 6.7% gross receipts tax, which results in higher taxes for consumers.  This despite promises by Gov. Rick Perry and the Republicans who control the Legislature that no new taxes would come from the 2013 session.


  Klein says its an indication that so called 'sin taxes' are open season for Tea Party Republicans, who are loathe to hike any other taxes.


  Lawmakers say the bill was meant to eliminate so called 'hidden taxes.'


  Several new laws that kick in Wednesday.  One will protect renters from having their utilities cut off when they live in 'all utilities paid' apartments and the landlord doesn't pay the bill.  Another bill eliminates the requirement that applicants for Concealed Handgun Permits must provide their Social Security Numbers.  One bill requires prosecuting attorneys to complete a one hour course on prosecutorial misconduct and their obligations to disclose information useful to the people they are prosecuting.