Needed Beer Tax Falls Flat

Despite my assertions in an earlier column that Oregon needed the money that would have been raised by a 1,900 percent increase in the beer tax per barrel, the legislature has dropped the ball and given up on this landmark legislation. But why? That is the question.

1. The legislature passed tax increases on corporations, rich individuals, gas, hospitals and more already and those may just be enough for the “tax-weary” Democrats who are afraid of voter backlash.

2. Beer was found not to be as harmful as originally suspected. One reason for the proposed tax increase was to fund state programs for alcoholics. Either beer does not contribute as much to alcoholism as other “beverages of Beelzebub”, or the legislature doesn’t really care that much about alcoholics in the state.

3. Legislators have decided to ignore the estimated 4 billion dollar cost to the state that alcoholism causes. I am not sure how they can ignore this, but without the valuable programs the state has in place to treat disadvantaged alcoholics, alcoholism will continue to grow unabated. Additionally, with beer remaining cheap due to their failure to impose the new tax, more and more disadvantaged Oregonians will choose craft beer or beer by the barrel as their “getting high” vehicle of choice. Craft and barrel beer has been shown to be a gateway drug, too, and the low cost beer that will continue to be available will now lead to more and more ruined lives.

4. The Oregon Beer and Wine Distributors Association must have more power than originally suspected. Typically, when dealing with sin taxes, the legislature remains “above the fray” and does the right thing for the health and well-being of Oregonians rather than succumb to pressures brought by lobbyists. The legislature failed to stand up to this powerful and well-funded lobby. Who will strong-arm them the next time we need a new tax?

5. Democrats did not want to increase the tax burden on “working class” peoples, as studies have shown it is they who most often drink beer “on tap”.

6. Legislators were worried that voters would get a chance to vote on this proposal via ballot measure and did not want to engage in that fight, which they most likely would have lost. Fear causes many to simply give up on what is right and run for the closet to hide.

The only good news in this major defeat for all Oregonians, who will now be saddled with underfunded alcoholic treatment programs, is that the sponsors of this bill (state Sen. Floyd Prozanksi, for example) have boldly declared that it will be at the top of their agenda in 2010.

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Posted by at 01:10 | Posted in Measure 37 | 5 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • wnd

    Imo, Oregon would be better off to go off the wagon from the plethora of nanny-state of (socialist) endeavors ‘spreeing’ about this state.

    Plain and simple, the snake oil ACTs cost too much and mostly benefit government class pocket books before trickling down to the clueless succor’d minions that feed off the ‘tableau’ scraps!

    Thereto, seems past time to cull the inanity by not only securing the hen house from the foxes – too, send ’em fleeing from the sound of a kind of John Peel clarion call: “Halloo, we’ll have no more of you.” Period!

  • student teacher

    Unneeded attempt at satire by Jerry falls flat!

    • claudia

      this was just another in a long line of’sin’ taxes the buffoons in salem think they need to enact.
      it would have cost a lot of jobs, not a good thing at this time.
      as for the money being needed for recovery programs…BWAHAHAHA
      Where is all the money they collected in 2008 that was earmarked for that? they don’t have to account for a dime of it…and guess what…the haven’t a clue where it is. so why would we give them more to ‘lose’.
      I’m glad it fell as flat as this little attempt at journalism did by jerry.

    • Anonymous

      He’s refreshing

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