The new Oregon wine/beer rebellion

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

Both Kotek and the Oregon Health Authority have been under fire for two big mishaps this year.

#1 Their anti-wine government television ads and #2 for Oregon Health Authority (OHA) hiding a $60,000 tax funded alcohol tax study.  That forbidden-to-be-made-public study showed that raising beverage taxes do not reduce alcoholism.  OHA wanted it kept secret because they were lobbying for more beer/wine taxes.

One top Oregon wine business issued a spot-on criticism of what has been going on.

It was so spot-on that it was soon pulled off the web by the author.

We will post a snippet and keep the well-known wine author private out of respect of their decision to remove it.

“What does it mean when an organization within our state government and, at the same time, launches highly-produced “public service” commercials attacking a legal and highly regulated Oregon industry that employs tens of thousands of people and contributes billions of dollars to the state economy? It means that a neo-prohibitionist faction is operating unchecked and without fear of consequence. That organization is the Oregon Health Authority.If you have seen the recent, heavily rotated “Rethink the Drink” commercials produced by the Oregon Health Authority, they are shining examples of the kind of propaganda that would make Xi Jinping blush. One of those ads features a little girl who shames her father into putting back a bottle of wine. Think about it. Our state is sponsoring ads designed to shame people into abstinence…The question is, who and why are they waging war against our proud industry? The last couple of years saw proposals to tax Oregon wines by 2200% hit the house floor. This last year saw a more modest 643% increase proposed. The purpose of these draconian taxes was to raise the prices so high that people would quit buying alcohol. “


The NW Cider Association issued this Oregonian opinion this week,

“Last year, the Legislature passed House Bill 3610. Sponsored by Rep. Tawna Sanchez, (D-Portland), the bill creates a 20-member task force, which she chairs, to examine increasing taxes on cideries, breweries and wineries. The cider industry was awarded one seat of the six allocated to alcohol industry representatives. The other 14 seats are taken mostly by the OHA and addiction recovery advocates and providers, who may receive a share of funding from higher taxes.If OHA hadn’t buried a taxpayer-funded report in 2021, it’s arguable this task force wouldn’t have been created because the report examined these issues and found raising alcohol taxes doesn’t significantly change consumer behavior”

But wait there is more

“Numerous times since 2021, OHA officials have said increasing the price of alcohol through taxes will help significantly curb the harms of excessive drinking, despite having evidence to the contrary hidden in their desk drawers. This brings questions as to whether OHA can be an honest broker at the task force table. … Some other things OHA won’t tell you. Alcohol generates more than $17 billion to our state’s economy. As such, alcohol is already the third largest source of revenue for the state. Yet only 3% of that revenue goes towards funding mental health and drug addiction recovery and treatment. Over the past three years, Oregon has greatly increased its spending on drug addiction and recovery by more than $1 billion and rightly so. But taxpayers are still not seeing any return on our investment. “


The bipartisan wine caucus of both Democrat and Republican lawmakers issued a letter to Kotek expressing “extreme disappointment” in the wine-bashing TV ads.


The Oregon Wine Council and the Oregon Winegrowers Association said, “The state should be focusing its public health messages on getting help to those who need it, not on vilifying an Oregonian at the grocery store purchasing a bottle of locally grown wine,” 


Here is the wine bashing ad that created the controversy:


Here is the Taxpayers Association parody of the ad asking if the State would dare to treat marijuana as harsh as they do wine:



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