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Taxing the living to pay for the dead

February 17, 2009

I spent the morning cruising my usual links and found a half dozen versions of the same story explaining how the billions of dollars the ag sector is getting in the new porkulus bill is going to save us all. I didn’t have the heart to comment on it, as seeing my ag brethren breathless over some new tax payer funds is nothing new. I mean six billion for rural broadband? This isn’t the 1930’s, any house with a satellite dish is capable of getting broadband.
Then I saw something that really put the fear of almighty Obama in me.

Outrage brewing over proposed 1,900% beer tax hike

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.

“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.

There’s already a move to increase the excise tax on wine in California to make up for Arnold’s “budget shortfalls” and talk of legalizing marijuana for the sole purpose of tax revenue, but at least the latter in an increase in freedom, not a punishing fine on achievers that have made California wines and Oregon beers prosperous industries.


From → Food Policy

One Comment
  1. Matthew permalink

    Produced in Oregon? I wonder if he realizes that Widmer (Oregon’s largest brewery) already contracts out to Redhook for part of their production. Wonder how long it would take for Widmer to completely shift production up North.

    Not to mention A-B owns 25% of each, so if need be I bet there are plenty of other states that could make Widmer.

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