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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beer Tax Shadow Darkens My Day

John Foyston sends along a press releases (pdf) from Oregon Partnership about the beer tax. I pass it along to you, so that your day may be similarly darkened. (And that's before the Blazers play.)
Coming on the heels of positive poll numbers and an endorsement by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, a proposal to raise the Oregon beer tax for the first time in 32 years is attracting more support.

Such groups as Local 503 of the Service Employees International Union, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon , the Oregon Prevention Education Recovery Association, and the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse have thrown their support behind House Bill 2461.
They also mention results of a poll by Moore Information (about which I know nothing but, such is my nature, am skeptical):
  • 61 percent of Oregonians favor increasing the beer and wine tax by fifteen cents a glass in order to ensure adequate funding for substance abuse treatment and prevention programs. This tax is supported in all regions of the state among Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike.
  • Given a choice between cutting funding of substance abuse treatment and prevention programs or increasing taxes to ensure these programs are adequately funded, increasing the beer and wine tax is preferred by a margin of 64 percent to 29 percent.
  • 80 percent of voters statewide are concerned about substance abuse, with voters outside the Portland Metro area most concerned.
  • 64 percent expect substance abuse problems to increase as a result of the recession.
Time to gird again for battle...


  1. Given how easy it is to game Oregon's initiative system, I think the Brewer's Guild should float a constitutional amendment that requires a unanimous vote of the legislature to raise beer taxes.

    It sounds ridiculous, but I'm not joking. Put a stop to this nonsense once and for all.

  2. I don't put much stock in polls like that, but it's revealing that they state "people support raising beer and wine taxes" when there's nothing in the bill about wine.

  3. Amen Chris

    And you guys wonder why I don't trust Oregon lawmakers with the honost pint bill?

  4. I certainly don't trust the polling. Just not nearly enough transparency about who was polled and exactly what the questions were.
    It's easy to understand why Local 503 supports the measure. It allegedly shores up funding that may go to their member's paychecks.
    Indeed, gird for battle, but as I've said previously, winning this one may not mean no tax increase. The wiser strategy, in my opinion, is to find a fee that everyone can live with. No increase in the relatively low tax in a generation is fueling support for doing something, however drastic it may seem to some, now.
    Time to write my representative.