Monday, October 12, 2009

A Penny For Your Thoughts - Sprecher Brewing Co

Finally, from Jeff Hamilton, Vice-President and General Manager of Sprecher Brewing Company

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The negative impacts to our state if the proposed bill were to pass are multi-faceted and reach many parts of our economy. The state’s brewing industry is one of the few business sectors that have remained relatively healthy in spite of our current economic downturn. The business of beer sustains Wisconsin families by providing jobs in not only breweries, but also malting plants, factories making packaging materials (glass, aluminum, paper products), wheat, barley, corn, and hop growers, distribution companies, restaurants and taverns, and grocery, convenience, and liquor stores. These employees and companies pay taxes and insurance premiums that provide healthcare for thousands of people.

Beer is also a major export product for our state. Breweries in Wisconsin produce products that are shipped to other states and abroad. All states collect tax on beer sold in their state. Under this proposal, Wisconsin would also collect this increased tax on all beer leaving the state, which would make it impossible for beers made in Wisconsin to compete with beers made in other states.

The bottom line is that this bill costs Wisconsin jobs. The loss of taxes as a result of these job losses will likely be more than the additional tax collected from the increased beer tax. This will also further burden the healthcare system with additional uninsured.

Wisconsin, and particularly Dane County taxpayers, should be outraged that the majority of the efforts to increase the beer tax are being sponsored by employees of government agencies with taxpayer money. UW Health and the Dane County Coalition to Reduce Alcohol Abuse are using government resources to organize rallies and arrange testimony for the upcoming hearing which clearly a majority of Wisconsin and Dane County citizens are against. If you are one of the majority of Wisconsin citizens over 21 that enjoys beer responsibly, that obeys state laws, that doesn’t drive intoxicated, and that isn’t an abuser of alcohol, make your voice be heard that you are not only against the tax increase, but also against the use of taxpayer funds to promote the tax.

Jeffrey Hamilton
Vice President/General Manager
Sprecher Brewing Company
Vice President
Wisconsin Brewers Guild

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