Targeting the Next Beverage

By February 26, 2009Taxation

A 1,900 percent tax increase on beer! So propose the Oregon legislators sponsoring HB 2461.

The Oregon Brewers Guild puts the tax increase in context:

If, 25 years ago, a group had approached Oregon Legislators promising their industry would produce 5,200 direct jobs and over 10,000 indirect jobs, if they promised their industry would be clean, green, popular with Oregonians and provide a uniquely Oregon attraction for visitors that would equal the states wineries, if they would forego any tax breaks plus agree to pay tens of millions of dollars for the privilege of doing business in Oregon – what would legislators have said?

That is the history of Oregon’s craft brewing industry. We’ve grown an iconic industry built on uniquely Oregon advantages in agriculture, people, place, lifestyle and tourism. Oregon legislators have encouraged the growth of the Oregon craft beer industry by keeping beer taxes here competitive with neighboring states. Only 1 of the top 50 Craft brewing companies in the U.S. in 2007 resides in a top 10 beer excise tax state. Oregon is home to 7 of the top 50 craft brewing companies in the U.S.

Raising Oregon beer tax rates would be bad for Oregonians and Oregon beer producers because…

Boosting beer taxes by nearly $50 per barrel – an increase of over 1900% – would make Oregon beer taxes the highest in the country.

Raising Oregon beer taxes by nearly $50 per barrel would be the largest single increase in beer taxes in American history.

All across the country, citizens are gathering to protest federal spending, the stimulus, mortgage relief plans and government excess — protests adopting the model of the Boston Tea Party.

Now, in Oregon, government is trying to recreate the conditions that produced the Whiskey Rebellion.

Students of American history may appreciate these developments, but there’s nothing aesthetic about taxes targeting industries and destroying jobs.

(Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds)

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