Local News

Lawmakers Consider Tapping Into Beer Sales For Extra Revenue

Posted July 3, 2002 9:56 a.m. EDT

— Buying beer could soon cost more as state lawmakers look for additional sources of revenue.

The price of beer already includes a federal and state excise tax. Some people believe it is time to tap into beer sales to help come up with extra state funds.

Right now, a tax of 5 cents is charged for every 12 ounces of beer sold, generating $90 million in revenue statewide each year.

Supporters of House Bill 1606 said doubling the tax to 10 cents would help state coffers and reduce drinking.

While wholesalers argue that a spike in the cost of beer will not necessarily lead to a decrease in alcohol consumption, they believe the move could have a major impact on the local economy.

"When those sales decline it will obviously have a bad effect on our business as well as the whole industry in the state. So there will be sort of a ripple effect from that with jobs," beer wholesaler Worth Harris said.

Wholesalers said raising the excise tax could drive consumers across state lines to buy beer.

The state excise tax has not been raised since 1969.