Monday, February 23, 2009

Beer needs us.


I'm not one to get on a political podium because I find politics has a tend to label people and polarize them when its been proven time and time again that the best work is done when with folks with various viewpoints work together.

That being said, I'm going to get up on my small blog podium and ask readers to take a few minutes to contact their local Oregon Representatives to stop Oregon House Bill 2461.

There is plenty of details on the Bill and what you can do to stop it to be found here.  Take 15 minutes of your day and write your Representatives, write the House Revenue Committee, sign the online Petition.

Some of the information found about the bill states that the tax is going to be on beer brewed in the State of Oregon, however a reply back from my local Representative Chuck Riley says otherwise:

I am very concerned about the impact a beer tax could have on the local beer industry, which is why I support exempting the products of small breweries that sell fewer than 125,000 barrels annually in Oregon.  This excludes most Oregon breweries from the tax. Eighty-eight percent of the beer consumed in Oregon is produced outside of this state, and increasing malt beverage taxes on breweries that sell more than 125,000 barrels annually in Oregon would level the playing field so that small breweries can compete against higher volume, less-expensive beer. Only about five or ten cents per beer would be added to beer sold in Oregon by large breweries such as Anheuser-Busch and Coors.

I would like Oregon taxpayers to recoup some of the millions of dollars we spend each year on alcoholism-related illnesses, underage drinking, and drunk driving. Fetal alcohol syndrome continues to rise in children born to teen mothers, costing Oregon $12.4 million per year, and the cost of alcohol-related problems to cities and counties far exceeds what they receive from Oregon Liquor Control Commission revenue. Most beer tax revenue will go to cities and counties for law enforcement, with the remainder going to fund statewide addiction prevention programs, treatment facilities, drug court expansion, drug-free housing programs, and Oregon State Police.

I've already written him back asking for further clarification on the points of the bill because I'm unable to confirm or deny a number of items he's addressed.  We'll see if I get a response back, or if this was just a form letter.  125K barrels is like a half a million kegs annually, so something makes me think he just pulled numbers out of.. well someplace.  While I do agree substance abuse and prevention is an issue worthy of funding, I'd hedge a bet the vast majority of those binge drinking teen's we are trying to protect aren't dropping eight bucks on a six-pack of Oregon Microbrews when they can get a case of some macro-brewed crap for a few dollars more.

Anyway, our friend Beer needs us.  Give it a hand!

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