There was a time in our history when the American-made beer selection was nothing to get excited about, and indeed, at which the long-established foreign brewers of the old world would disdainfully turn up their noses. Thanks to a cut in the federal excise tax on beer produced by smaller brewers in 1976, however, those dog days are over, and the American beer market is a thriving and striving industry with a wide and diverse selection of craft-beer deliciousness. There are more than 2,300 breweries in the U.S. today, and our beer production is second only to China’s.
A bipartisan group of eighteen senators is now looking to spur America’s beer industry even further, and they’re pushing legislation that would once again slash the beer excise tax for small brewers even further, via Roll Call:
The bipartisan group, led by Maryland Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin and Maine Republican Susan Collins, wants to cut the excise tax in half, to $3.50 a barrel, on the first 60,000 barrels of beer. Other taxes would also be reduced.
“Maine is home to dozens of unique craft breweries and brewpubs that invigorate our economy by providing more than 1,000 jobs and drawing countless tourists into our state,” Collins said in a statement. …
“Small breweries throughout Upstate New York not only brew great beer, they also pour jobs into communities across the country,” Schumer said…
It is just one of a slew of narrowly targeted tax provisions that could come under scrutiny as part of a bid to overhaul and simplify the federal tax code.
Even better, there’s a bipartisan companion bill that goes even further making its way through the House, too, via Forbes:
Brewers are hoping that a recent “beer tax-relief bill” will keep that momentum going. The Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2013 (the “BEER Act” – see how clever those politicians are?), H.R. 1918, would reduce excise taxes for all brewers and beer importers, especially small brewers. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), is intended to ease the economic burden on the country’s 2,100 brewing companies.
The BEER Act calls for a reduction in federal excise taxes on brewers to its pre-1991 levels. That affects your wallet since, on average, 40% of the cost of every beer goes to federal, state and local taxes. If you’re wondering how that compares to other excise taxes, federal taxes make up less than 10% of the price of your gas – and in most states, the additional state tax burden remains relatively low. By the numbers, at .05 per 12 oz., the federal excise tax burden alone on beer works out to about 53 cents per gallon (for the sake of apples to apples, the federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon).
53 cents a gallon? That is egregious, I say! And I must of course throw in the qualifier that I’d much rather the federal government be talking about how to drastically cut back on our out-of-control spending habits to lower the public debt and simultaneously slashing all of these sorts of highly specific and complex taxes in order to grow the economy and fuel competition — but, if we’re not talking about that, then… you won’t catch me complaining about this one, and not just because it could help create jobs.