After learning that Oregon State Representative Ben Cannon is proposing a huge tax increase on beer, PETA [director Sarah King] fired off a letter to Cannon urging him instead to propose a 10-cent "sin" tax on every pound of meat sold in grocery stores and restaurants in order to keep beer cheap and Oregonians (and their economy) healthy.The letter, which you can read in its entirety here, is mostly summed up in Sarah King's opening paragraph.
As an Oregon native and a beer aficionado, I was extremely interested to read about the bill that you recently sponsored to increase Oregon's tax on beer. On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 2 million members and supporters worldwide, including thousands of Oregonians, I'd like to propose an alternative that would keep beer—a product that's important to the state's economy—affordable, yet still bring in needed revenue: an excise tax on meat. A 10-cent "sin" tax on every pound of chicken, turkey, pig, fish, and cow flesh sold in grocery stores and restaurants would not only raise funds but also help stop climate change and reduce health-care costs.I don't know if this is a good idea in terms of public policy, but it does shine a rather bright light on the issue of externalities and the degree to which Oregon breweries should be picking up the tab for asserted public costs. The beer tax could be a pandora's box of new taxing ideas: meat, beer, wine, liquor, tobacco, potato chips, corn syrup, SUVs .... Okay, some are more persuasive than others. Still, once you start talking about costs to the state, you better be prepared to talk about other things, too.