Jeff Alworth, over at Beervana, a blog based out of Oregon, is getting all uppity about beer tax increases in Oregon. Apparently, the fine legislators in Oregon are proposing a beer tax increase there that sounds awfully familiar:
Backers say the extra money would help defray the $5 billion in health care, law enforcement and social services that untreated substance abuse costs the state each year.And Jeff gets downright indignant (rightfully so, I might add):
There may be some hare-brained calculation somewhere that adds up to a total expense of $5 billion a year in total costs, but it damn sure isn't the state's cost. And, not to put too fine a point on it, but the cost, whatever it is, damn sure isn't all the fault of beer makers.
He goes on to point out that this what the West Coast pays in state beer taxes per barrel:
Idaho - $4.65
Nevada - $4.96
California - $6.20
Oregon - $49.61
Wisconsin? About $2 per barrel. It's actually less than that for most craft breweries because if you produce less than 50,000 barrels you only pay $1 per barrel in tax.
So, sorry Jeff, maybe some of those Oregon breweries might want to relocate to Wisconsin? And, yeah, we still have it pretty good here. But, strangely, even with these huge tax discrepancies beer here still costs about the same as it does there. Or, maybe the breweries that complain about taxes here, might want to consider the fact that it could be a lot worse.
[ed note: there a few complicating factors in the math - namely, Oregon doesn't have any breweries the size of Miller to "subsidize" the tax rolls like we have in Wisconsin; so, as much as craft brewers like to complain about Miller and Leinie's - Miller keeps you, at least in some sense, from having to pay higher taxes]