Beer Tax Hike Is Anti-Stimulus Plan

Beer Tax Hike Is Anti-Stimulus Plan
March 3, 2009

John Nothdurft

John Nothdurft (jnothdurft AT Heartland.org) joined the staff of The Heartland Institute in May... (read full bio)

While most states are trying to come up with ways to encourage small businesses and create jobs, a few Oregon legislators are dead set at proposing the exact opposite.

Regardless of how you feel about drinking, the economics of a 1,900 percent ($47 per barrel) tax increase on homegrown brewers doesn't add up (February 17, "Beer-tax increase proposed").

The proposed tax hike is unlikely to encourage people to quit drinking altogether, as proponents claim. More likely, they will simply drink less-taxed beer brewed out of state.

Is this something Oregon wants to encourage, especially when jobs and businesses not asking for a bailout are hard to come by?

The low brew tax has helped cultivate a very strong state-grown microbrew industry that has created jobs and small businesses in the state.

By raising the tax, policymakers will make it more difficult for the in-state beer industry to compete with out-of-state beer manufacturers. An excessive tax like this is a job killer and an unnecessary burden on Oregonians. As a matter of sound fiscal policy, it should be avoided.

— John Nothdurft, budget and tax legislative specialist, The Heartland Institute, Chicago

This Letter to the Editor was originally published in the Statesman Journal.

John Nothdurft

John Nothdurft (jnothdurft AT Heartland.org) joined the staff of The Heartland Institute in May... (read full bio)