Business Week is reporting that “lawmakers from both parties are casting about for money to dedicate to Oregon’s depleted state highway patrol, and see the beer tax as a possible solution.”
However, when names are bantered about of moronic Oregon legislators who are behind the push to raise state beer taxes by “10 cents a drink,” the article just can’t seem to find a Republican for attribution. A staff member for state Sen. Bill Morrisette, D-Eugene, said raising the alcohol tax by 10 cents a drink would bring in $121.6 million — enough to set aside $24 million to hire 139 new state troopers, reinstituting 24/7 coverage of the state’s highways, and leaving nearly $100 million for addiction prevention and treatment programs. Notice please, there’s a “D” after Morrisette’s name, not an “R.” You might also note how the argument uses the benign “10 cents a drink” approach. In reality, translating the tax into its true impact gives you this; the proposed tax increase would raise Oregon’s total beer tax to just more than $1.11 per gallon – replacing Alaska, at $1.07 per gallon, as the country’s highest. The median rate for all 50 states and the District of Columbia is just less than 19 cents per gallon.
Let’s take this a few steps further and demonstrate the reward a brewer could expect for pushing to the 200,000 barrel trigger point for the additional tax; 31 gallons in a barrel X $1.11 = $34.41 a barrel. If you hit a brew length of 200,000 barrels per year, your reward as a succesful brewer for your increased productivity would be an additional $6,882,000 in state taxes. Of course, the brewery owner isn’t going to dig into his pockets to cover the phantasies of liberal politicians — beer drinkers will. Just another socialistic example of redistribution of wealth.
Lies, damn lies, and Oregonian legislative bullshit.
The beer tax is picking up some high-profile allies, including Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who sent a note of support to members of the House Revenue Committee after Wednesday’s hearing. H-m-m, this time it’s spelled out, D-e-m-o-c-r-a-t-i-c. The Governor, as do liberals who like to spend other people’s money, even has the chutzpah to add “As you consider increasing Oregon’s malt beverage surcharge, the opportunity before you is a ‘win-win’ that promises to improve the public’s health and safety by investing in addiction prevention and treatment on the front end — before law enforcement gets involved — and by ensuring adequate and stable funding for our Oregon State Police patrol efforts.”
What about the children? Well, as you can guess, that Simpson-ish line is dragged out somewhat later in the article to justify the tax increase, wrapped around the gauzy story of a woman whose oldest son was killed by a drunk driver. Interestingly, there’s no mention of the drunk having consumed beer, just that he was “a drunken driver.” What if he was drinking wine? Oregon has a nice little wine industry too. How about the hard stuff? I think there’s a few boutique distilleries in Oregon taking advantage of juniper berries growing in the region.
As any liberal will tell you, if you throw someone else’s money at a problem, every social ill in the world will be stilled. “More education programs about the dangers of driving while impaired would prevent future mothers from re-enacting that scene,” said Vickie Kibler, the Lake Oswego mother whose son was killed in 2004. Not possibly prevent, not slow down, no…a beer tax “would prevent future mothers from re-enacting that scene.”
Why raise Oregon beer taxes now? The answer is in this article from the Register-Guard. “The 2007 Oregon Legislature will be under Democratic control for the first time in 18 years, potentially opening the door for a state beer tax increase that has been locked out for 20 years by Republican leaders,” the article points out.
And here’s Senator Morrisette (D) flapping his lips again. “With a Democratic House, Senate and governor, I think we can pass the bill.”
In reality, the proposed tax increase would exempt breweries that produce less than 200,000 barrels per year. Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, is above the exemption limit and Deschutes Brewery in Bend is close approaching the cutoff number, causing Gary Fish to bemoan “I don’t know why that is – why it’s a Democratic or a Republican issue – but apparently it is.”
I’m putting Gary in for this month’s “Captain Obvious” award.
BTW, the Oregon Senate just passed another fine piece of legislation. By a vote of 20-9 on Thursday, April 26, 2007, the Oregon Senate has endorsed a bill that would make it a Class A misdemeanor to confine a pregnant pig, thanks to sponsor Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland.
Gee, maybe the next time Oregon brewers might try voting for a party that represents small business interests and not pregnant pigs.