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1,900% beer tax hike in Oregon

Discussion in 'Balboa Park' started by BFISA, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Outrage brewing over proposed 1,900% beer tax hike

    Lawmakers say tax will help budget; brewers warn of lost jobs

    02:02 PM PST on Monday, February 16, 2009

    By ERIC ADAMS, kgw.com Staff

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- Five Oregon state lawmakers want to impose a hefty tax on beer and have introduced a bill that brewers say would cripple them.

    Four Portland legislators joined a Springfield senator to introduce Oregon House Bill 2461, which would impose a $49.61 tax on each barrel of beer produced by Oregon brewers.

    The tax would raise revenue for the state at a time when budgets are running in the red. Specifically, the bill says it would fund prevention, treatment and recovery programs for those addicted to alcohol and other substances.

    The bill's language defends the tax by arguing alcoholism and “untreated substance abuse” costs the state $4.15 billion in lost earnings as well as more than $8 million for health care and nearly $1 billion in law enforcement-related expenditures.

    Oregon ranks 49th among states in its malt beverage taxation rate, which has not been raised in 32 years, according to HB 2461.

    Brewers hopping mad over tax

    Brewers say Oregon's low beverage taxation rate is what makes the state such an attractive place for crafting beers. The state’s brewery guild claims it would also amount to the single largest beer tax hike in the nation's history.

    Laurelwood Public House & Brewing Co. owner Mike De Kalb said the tax may sound like a good idea in this economic climate, but he believes it would cost jobs and not raise enough new tax revenue to justify the increase.

    “We’re a family-owned, local Portland business. We don’t want to see something cost taxpayers more than the revenue it would bring in,” De Kalb said.

    De Kalb said Oregon would potentially lose its prominence as a craft-brew destination and that some small breweries could potentially go out of business. He said Laurelwood could possibly face job cuts as well. Prior versions of the beer tax bill have exempted small breweries but this one does not, he added.

    $1.50 more, or just 15 cents?

    “If that tax is passed it would mean consumers would pay $315 million more (in 2009) to buy the same amount of beer they bought in 2008," De Kalb claimed. "A pint of beer would go from $4.50 to $6.”

    Rep. Ben Cannon, one of the bill's sponsors, questions whether the true hit to consumers would be as high as beer makers claim. He told KGW his office measured the increase at 15 cents per glass not $1.50.

    But Kurt Widmer of Widmer brewing told KGW that in order to keep profit margins constant, he'd increase his price to distributors, who in turn would likely increase prices to retailers, making the 15 cent per class estimate unrealistic.

    House Bill 2461 has been introduced by Portland Reps. Ben Cannon and Michael Dembrow, Portland Sens. Jackie Dingfelder and Diane Rosenbaum, and Springfield Sen. William Morrisette.

  2. Lightning's Girl

    Lightning's Girl Mod Chick =) Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 15, 2007
    I don't drink, but I know that microbrews are the unofficial Oregon state beverage, and thus shouldn't be subjected to the so-called 'sin tax'. If push came to shove, I wouldn't have an issue with slapping a hefty tax on Meister Brau and other horse-piss beers that people drink by the case because it's the cheapest way to get loaded. But this thing will drive the microbrew industry right out of the state if it goes through.........and what chaps MY hide is, the money will probably go right to Governor Green's whack-o environmental schemes, like buying electric cars for the state vehicle fleet and taking out the hydroelectric dams that provide us much of our power. It raises my blood pressure just thinking about it---we can't pay for existing services, but we can afford electric cars for state workers. Bah, humbug!~~
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