Four Portland legislators joined a Springfield senator to introduce Oregon House Bill 2461, which would impose a $49.61 tax on each barrel of beer produced by Oregon brewers. The tax hike, a mere 1,900 percent increase, would help the state in these hard times by bringing in an estimated $140 million in new revenue. The bill states that this revenue would fund prevention, treatment, and recovery programs for those addicted to alcohol.
The state is doing wonders with these programs now — thousands upon thousands of addicts have been saved by the state this year alone, but there are so many more that can not be treated by the state without adequate funding.
It is estimated that there are over 148,000 alcoholics in Oregon. This tax increase would only give the state about $1,000 extra per addict, then, to work with in the treatment and prevention of beer addiction. That is clearly not enough. Who ever heard of an alcoholic being cured for $1,000 more?
The only thing really wrong with the proposal is that it is not a large enough tax hike to really do much good. The bill should call for a $100 tax on a barrel of beer, not $49.61. If we had twice the money we could do twice as much to combat the growing problem of beer addiction in Oregon.
Some estimates for lost earnings show the cost to Oregon as high as 4 billion dollars. We can not lose this much money in the midst of a deep and prolonged depression. We must increase the barrel tax and we must increase it now. Oregon state government needs our money and those who drink beer should shoulder the burden. After all, they are causing many of the problems the state has with alcohol abuse.
Studies have shown that drinking beer is a very bad thing. It is almost as bad as smoking, but not quite, so it should still be allowed, but severely discouraged. This bill would do just that.
At a time when Oregon’s unemployment is the fifth highest in the nation, more might be drawn to the demon drink. With this tax, many will be unable to afford the siren call of the devil’s own favorite beverage. Please join the Freedom Foundation in supporting the new beer tax. Share your support with Portland Reps. Ben Cannon and Michael Dembrow, Portland Sens. Jackie Dingfelder and Diane Rosenbaum, and Springfield Sen. William Morrisette, who all introduced this fine, life-saving bill.