Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oregon beer tax

Travis Wiseman and I were chatting after class today about beer, and he mentioned his blog post on Oregon's 1900% tax increase on microbreweries. The numbers are staggering and stand on their own:

- The proposal would raise the tax from its current level of $2.60 to $52.21 per barrel.

- It would move Oregon from a position of being one of the most favorable states for beer taxes to the worst, trumping Alaska by one-third.

- The impact on a pint of beer in the state would be an increase between $1.25 and $1.50.

Does anyone have any update on this? The underlying WSJ article is from tax day, April 15. The bill is question is House Bill 2461; here's the text of the bill. Note the provision for the outlay of the revenues:

(2) Moneys in the Alcohol Impact Remediation Fund are continuously appropriated to the Department of Human Services to be distributed in each calendar quarter as follows:
(a) 15 percent for the purpose of funding section 8 (1) and (2), chapter 14, Oregon Laws 2008.
(b) The remaining balance in the fund shall be used as follows:
(A) 6 percent for statewide alcohol and drug use prevention initiatives;
(B) 14 percent for other alcohol and drug use prevention purposes;
(C) 72 percent for treatment of alcohol and drug addiction; and
(D) 8 percent for alcohol and drug recovery support services.

For what it's worth, Section 8 (1) and (2) deals with drug programs in jails (though is deftly written to allow syphering to jail funding in general).

The Oregon Legislature website shows the bill as introduced without any further action. This is a promising sign; the website gives the following as an outline for their in-session dates:

When is the Oregon Legislative Assembly in session?

Oregon has biennial sessions, with the Assembly convening on the second Monday of the every odd year. Oregon has no set ending date for regular sessions. An average regular session runs six months.

Here's the Facebook group against the tax, and here's an online petition. Here's a story on the angry locals, and here's an opinon claiming that there's no evidence that a 1900% tax increase "would cause job losses..."

As a side note, check out Travis' blog Champion Economics.

1 comment:

Travis Wiseman said...