Beer Tax Hike Is Anti-Stimulus Plan

Published March 3, 2009

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.