Magazine article Insight on the News

Who Benefits from Beer-Tax Reduction?

Magazine article Insight on the News

Who Benefits from Beer-Tax Reduction?

Article excerpt

While the whiskey tax sparked a rebellion in this country in 1794, the beer tax also has a long history of unpopularity. So some 175 members of the House think they are winning friends among the suds-swillers by proposing to cut the beer tax in half.

The excise tax on beer (currently $18 a barrel) dates back to the Civil War. It was pumped up by legislators as opportunities came along, such as financing wars or coping with dwindling revenues during hard times. The last big hit was a doubling of the tax in 1990, when taxes also were increased on luxury items such as yachts, private aircraft and costly jewelry. All those taxes, except the beer tax, since have been scuttled.

A Minneapolis Star Tribune report notes that cutting the beer tax is not popular on all fronts. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) contends the tax savings -- possibly as much as 16 cents per six-pack -- will lead to increased consumption and, thus, more traffic accidents and other problems associated with excessive drinking. …

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