Monday, February 16, 2009

Brewers under fire in Oregon (of all places)

News out of Portland is that some dumbass politicians want to raise Oregon's excise tax on beer by 1,900% (not a typo). Finally, an answer to all of America's economic problems!

I wish I could say that I'm surprised, but I'm not. With all of the indiscriminate taxation against tobacco that has gone on over the years, I guess it was only a matter of time before someone shifted their bullseye onto our favorite beverage. Plus, this is really just grandstanding, isn't it? The excise tax probably won't be raised to the proposed amount. This is more than likely just some headline grabbing in order to highlight that Oregon's excise tax is much lower than other states, and to gather support to raise it to a level in line with other states.

But I am surprised that this is happening in Oregon, a state that has helped put craft beer on the map. Frankly, I have an easier time imagining something like this happening in a back asswards state like New Jersey than somewhere that they've supported the scene as long as they have in Oregon. And it does bother me when legislation like this has such a big impact on small businesses. It's easy to turn a blind eye when giant corporations that have been conspiring to slowly kill people for decades (i.e. big tobacco) get taxed left and right. And easier when their product isn't your vice. But this kind of thing is really going to hit home with brewpubs and small breweries - the kinds of businesses that local government should really be encouraging people to support.

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