Compromise Beer Tax Needs Support

It’s reality time in Salem on a beer tax to fund addiction services, police

June 16, 2009 -- The legislature could this week take up an increase in the beer tax, as proposed in House Bill 2461. Emphasis on the word could. 

(Editor's note: Shortly after publication of this article, the Oregon legislature nixed the beer tax.)

There's been no indication yet from House or Senate leadership that they will allow HB 2461 to go forward. But now is the time to let them, and your own Senators and Representatives in the legislature, know that you think it's important.

Representative Ben Cannon and Senator Floyd Prozanski, in collaboration with the other sponsors of HB 2461, have proposed an amended

Rather than a 15-cent-a-drink tax on all beer produced or imported into Oregon, with all of the money going to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery, they propose a 7-cent tax on the products of big breweries and 1.5 cents on the products of small breweries -- the latter would include all Oregon-based breweries. And, to pick up needed support in the legislature, some of the proceeds would go to fund state police positions slated to be cut in the upcoming budget.

This is obviously not what we'd all hoped for when the session began, but it's reality time in Salem. And the reality is that this is probably the best we can get.

So, please e-mail, write or phone key legislators now, urging them to let the scaled-down beer tax proposal move forward, and to vote for it if it comes to the floors of the House and Senate.

As always, short & polite requests, rather than demands, get the best reception in legislative offices. But other legislators need to know that the time has come for some beer tax increase -- and that the support for it is there among Oregonians.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

Don Bishoff is Legislative Assistant to Senator Bill Morrisette 

Take Action

Some key e-mail addresses and phone numbers:

House Speaker Dave Hunt, [email protected], 503-986-1200.

House Majority Leader Mary Nolan, [email protected], 503-986-1936.

Senate President Peter Courtney, [email protected], 503-986-1600.

Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin, [email protected], 503-986-1700

House Revenue Committee Chairman Phil Barnhart, [email protected], 503-986-1411.

Senate Revenue Committee Chairman Ginny Burdick, [email protected], 503-986-1718.
For contact information on your own Senator or Representative, click here  and click on "Find Your Legislator" on the right side of the page.

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