Well said Mr. Bialous.
Somebody has to pay taxes, since the rich and their enablers won't.

Schools don't fund themselves and bridges don't build themselves, even insane Deep GHG-emitting Subsidized Toll Tunnels that crank out more emissions in 2 lanes than a 4 lane bridge over Lake Washington does, with half the existing capacity and no plan to toll tax-subsidized foundations private limos that call themselves "green".

Since you won't use the other leg of the stool, property tax, it has to come from a sales tax or license fee of some type.

i am sorry i made the rob mckenna supporters, i mean right-wing bar owners, upset with you, im also sorry you have to hear their whiny bullshit now. i do agree with adam kline that using the beer tax for dui related stuff is a good idea, its seems a responsible move on his part. prez, ALEC is just mad at jay here because he is looking to increase tax revenue with his proposed budget, thats all this shit here is about.
it's hard to pick the "beer" side in the argument "beer vs. children."

Speak for yourself.
Using revenue generated from beer sales to fund education is idiotic.

So, it's in the children's and teacher's best interests for as much beer as possible to be sold.

Isn't that a conflict of interest?
Everyone loves a big public sector until the tax bill comes due. I for one would rather pay higher taxes and enjoy a more robust public sector, but then I'm a social democrat. I can see why the right-wingers here at Slog would disagree.
@5 This is the moral dilemma of propping up the government using sin taxes.

Relying on beer sales to prop up education funding is by extension relying on alcohol abuse and addiction to prop up education funding. Same thing with tobacco taxes, will be the same thing with marijuana taxes. I don't have a general problem with taxing these goods, but I have a very negative opinion of our over-reliance on these taxes.
@6 I'm certainly not a right-winger, I just object to this approach. Unfortunately, there is no political will to pursue the remedy that is truly needed: a statewide income tax.
@7 - Plenty of people who drink beer are not addicted. In fact I would guess (without evidence) that alcoholics probably don't favor beer, which does not deliver very much alcohol per dollar.

It is different with lotteries, tobacco, etc., where arguably the government has perverse incentives to encourage self-destructive behavior. I would say for most people beer consumption is not unhealthy (or at least, not any more unhealthy than drinking any high-calorie drink).

I am a big beer fan, but one of my least favorite things about the beer industry is how fucking whiny it is about taxes. Practically every industry creates jobs in some sense, but we have to have taxes if we want to fund a proper government. Beer is a reasonably good target for taxes because it's not a necessity but it is also something people are unlikely to cut back on very much due to higher prices.
here is what the American legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) said about the house budget on friday:

"Republican Rep. Cathy Dahlquist said that the budget “misses on several points” when it comes to education reform. “We continue to fail our students in graduation rates, and we continue to widen the opportunity gap,” she said..."

"Rep. Gary Alexander, the ranking Republican on the budget committee, criticized the budget proposal for including tax revenue. He says it’s not necessary to balance the budget.

“You add $1.3 billion in new tax increases on our citizens at a time when they can least afford it,” Alexander said..."

anna, you were just making these exact same points, word for word: dude, WOW thats like ALEC symbiosis you have going on there..
@7 I don't agree that people will just "drink" the cost. I lived in Canada for two years and their higher beer prices sent me into serious sticker shock. I definitely cut back on how much beer I drank when a six-pack of decent microbrew cost $15-$20.
@8 maybe they can start with a state income tax on only the rich, just like how the beer tax was only on the products of big brewers. I'm sure such an income tax would never be extended to cover the majority of the population.
Sorry, that comment was meant for @9.
IIRC there are between 300-400 bottles per barrel of beer so if this were passed on to the consumer 100% it would only add pennies to the cost of a bottle of beer.
To me, cutting taxes for the big brewers, who have ties to multinational corporations like AB-InBev, while raising taxes on small local businesses is the heart of the matter. This is clearly not in the interest of the state's economy. Thanks, Roger, for shedding some light on this ass backward proposal.
@8 And, just as there was no pressure from even the most liberal of newspapers before the lawsuit repealing the Eyman initiatives, there is no pressure on politicians now to get a lawsuit together repealing the income tax ruling.

Of course, both Goldy and Dominic disagree with that. I haven't seen any proof yet though. No interviews, e-mails, or anything asking why the progressive taxes died, but the regressive ones lived on.

And, this is a tax that targets small businesses. Truly small businesses. Not large corporations.
Did anyone notice how the price of a Bud doubled in 2010? No? that's cause the big boys just sucked up the cost. They spend far more on advertising, etc, than on actual beer production. This is VERY different from the craft brewer model. If the increases go through, you will see ALL craft beer prices rise, both brewed in state and out of state. The profit margins are very small compared to the industrial-size brewers, and this sort of increase will force some breweries to close and others to scale back growth.

Another apsect of our beer industry is the way breweries and their taprooms help increase foot traffic when they open up in industrial or marginal neighborhoods, and help other businesses start and grow. 20 years ago it was hard to get landlords to see the benfits of leasing to a craft brewery. Now, whole neighborhoods get excited when they see a brewery moving in because they know it will help revitalize the area.
@11, @14 - By my calculation the tax totals about 7.3 cents/bottle. However, small brewers are already paying about 1.5 cents/bottle, so the difference is only about 5.8 cents/bottle.

So ask yourself: if the price of beer were to rise by 6 cents/bottle, how much would you cut back? Personally I would not cut back even a little bit, but then, I really like beer.
@17 - For the price of Bud to double as a result of the tax, a bottle would have had to cost 6 cents. Which leads me to ask: where are you getting such good prices on beer?
Oops, didn't mean to say the cost of Bud would have doubled with the tax increase. I should have said "Did anyone notice how the price of Bud increased..."
@18 it really depends on what kind of beer you mean. Some people spend $20 for a bottle of premium cider, or $16 for a large bottle of imported beer at PCC. I actually prefer the cheaper kinds, although I do like a good ice cider, or premium mead. But for beer, I'd rather have Rainier or Kokanee, quite frankly, or Foster's. Tastes vary.

Most of the wines the rich consume are in fact way cheaper in their place of origin, frequently used as table wine. Same goes for beer.
@19 don't use math, we're arguing with anti-tax extremists. Math is too good for them.
I see absolutely no reason to accept a tax that affects a thriving local industy of small businesses and their customers as long as the ultra-wealthy continue to pay zero income tax here.
Fuck these people. Tax the shit out of it, and tax smaller brewers some amount as well. They are benefiting from lack of an income tax, and since we can't tax soda anymore because of the fat people lobby, lets tax this.
A cop-out sin tax because Inslee is too chicken shit to institute an actual income tax to properly tax the rich.

How about a cognac and merlot tax instead? You know, instead of a tax on the most-consumed alcohol by the lower classes?

We're regressive in every fucking way.
@25: Yes.
@23 seriously fuck you you whiny bitch. You know this small tax won't bankrupt anyone who is trying to stay in business and if you're just going to be absolutist then you do deserve to be isolated and alone.

@25 DO YOU EVEN KNOW THE RATE THE TAX GOES JESUS. I don't even see how anything cataclysmic could come from raising taxes this much, honestly their electricity rates probably raised by more than this in the past four years. This is fucking manageable. I hate all of you, except for all the awesome reasonable people on this thread. I never see reasonable responses to anything on this website, I think for once I'm in the majority.
We're talking about raising the tax by about six cents per pint, right? (Roughly: $15/barrel, $15/32gal, $0.50/gal) Six cents on pints that sell for $5? An extra $8 on a keg that sells for $120? This is worth fighting over?

I love our independent brewing scene, and I want it to succeed. But after the retail prices went up a few years ago to deal with the hop shortage, they never came back down. That doesn't leave me feeling sympathetic to forced fluctuations in their cost of doing business. They could raise retail prices by the increased tax and purchasers would never notice.
Oh, dear. An anonymous troll hath dubbed me whiny bitch. I shall console myself with a reasonably priced craft brew from Washington, now.
I finally met Roger at my Monday bowling league a few weeks back. Sponsored by Gtown. I've had beers on several occasions with Manny, Tom is in my fantasy football league, and Andy just kicks ass. Some of my best friends work in the industry, whether as servers/bartenders, distributors, salesmen, promoters or brewers. I've met plenty of the Gtown guys, along with a ton of locals that run the seattle beer "scene".

Georgetown brewing is a block away from my work. I go by it every day on my way home. Usually I have to avoid all the cars coming out of the little lot they have, with people from all around the region stopping by to grab a growler. Naw, let's raise their prices, because it's easy. Nobody like a beer drinker.

Yeah I'm a beer drinker. Damn proud of it too. Don't like it, tough shit. There is a huge industry around all of this, and they pay taxes and fees and salaries. When these new taxes go into effect, they are going to hurt this industry. Maybe the new brewery in Hillman City doesn't start up and it doesn't revitalize that block of Rainier. Maybe Mike and Matt don't get as many out of town people to come in for SBW and have to have less events. Maybe Rick doesn't throw the Portland and Seattle INTL Beer Festival. Maybe that beer you love just can't sell at the prices that are demanded by the tax.

These people our the bedrock of this city. They a provide a lot of people with good times. I was in Atlanta a while back, and you know what kind of micro beer you can get downtown? Bud, Miller and Coors. You know what downtown Atlanta is like after 6? Bud light Bro! I don't want dozens of my friends to lose their livelyhood becasue the only affordable beer is a fuckin natty ice, brawski. I want beer with gunk left in the bottom of the glass. I want beer blacker than Dan Savages heart. I want weird Belgian sours brewed by some dude in Cle Elum. I want hops flavor to hit my tongue so hard that it feels like sandpaper after I swallow. I want refreshment with my friends after work, I want an IPA at the sounders match.

I love the diversity of beer in this town, and this tax is going to limit that diversity.

The bar owners and brewers aren't with ALEC. It lowers the tax on huge out of state businesses and raises the taxes on our neighbors. Isn't that what ALEC strives for? Making sure the big guys get supported by the little guys. It is a shame and I am disappointed that our Gov and reps are getting behind this. Fucking get a goddamn income tax in this state and stop taxing the shit out the things that bring joy to the people. and for fucks sake stop saying that this is for the children. That is the biggest load of horseshit ever.
@29 the fuck is wrong with you? I'm having a kilt lifter, I'm just saying that you're not really thinking about the cost, and you never will, and I really think it doesn't serve the greater good to refuse any sort of tax until we come up with the one tax that you want to pass, which probably never will. I don't see how favoring the decision to starve the revenue stream for our public education really puts you on any sort of moral high ground.
I'm not surprised that the commenters in favor of this tax shift ignore the fact this would punish our in-state, small brewers, making their taxes much higher than competing brewers in other nearby states, to benefit large out-of-state (or out of country) companies.

I'd expect this from today's Republican Party, but Democrats? I guess it is the same party led by a President aching to cut Social Security, who refuses to prosecute Wall Street lawbreakers because they're too big to fail, and has expanded Bush 43's use of drones for killing civilians overseas.

The Democratic Party of the New Deal and Great Society is dead.
@32 makes the most useful point here. This tax simply disincentives small breweries, who are already not making a killing as it is, from opening or expanding in Washington State, and consequently creating jobs and more tax revenue. On top of that, the missing piece of vital data here is the margins that small breweries operate under. Having seen private breweries' financial records I can say without a doubt that it's dramatically less than you might expect. Nobody makes money off of a small brewery. Because of that, even for a regressive tax, this is sloppily designed and will do far more harm than it needs to.
@31--By all means, please keep arguing with the various straw men dancing in your head.
@31 God, you're sounding like Goldy and Dominic.

"Hey, our tax system is fucked. But, since we can't fix it, lets increase it's fuckeditude in order to maintain!"

Maybe if it gets fucked enough we'll start closing corporate tax loopholes, increase corporate rates, get an income tax, reduce the sales tax, and do something!
Also, for those saying "it's only a 5.8 cents per bottle increase"...that's a 3.8% markup on a $1.50 bottle of beer.

That's not small. And that's for a $9 6-pack.

That's 5.8% markup for a $6 6-pack.

Would you support a regressive-as-fuck 6% direct tax increase on beer in general? Some might say "yes! It's not a necessity!" I think those people are rich dicks.
@14, 18
You do not understand how this tax works.
If this tax were levied on consumers it would be barely noticable $5 pint with a $.07 tax makes $5.07 beer right? that's not how it works.

Breweries sell their kegs to distributors for about $90. Currently $4.70 or so goes to taxes. If this tax increase goes into effect $9.40 will go to taxes. How many businesses can function when their income(not profit) is reduced by %6. That is the entire profit margin of a lot of businesses.

Second, if this increases the price wa breweries charge distributors (as it will most definitely need to), out of state breweries will have a huge competative advantage. Wa breweries sell the majority(say %90) of their beer in Wa, subject to said tax. But if a brewery from Oregon sells %10 of their beer in Wa and %90 in oregon, they pay far less overall tax, and thus probably wont have to pass on the cost increase to consumers for their wa sales, undercutting the wa breweries. After the distributor makes their standard mark up, it could increase the keg price for the bar $8 or per keg for wa beer. Probably close to $0.25 or $0.50 a pint for consumers after bar mark-up.

Third, why target craft brewers. Wa has as much notoriety for it's beer as apples and the space needle. can't the state pick on someone else? Why not eliminate boeings tax loopholes, or Amazon, or microsoft? Now that would generate some money! Way more than the craft brewing industry ever could.

Fourth, Craft breweries produce about %6 of the beer made in the country, yet they employ 4 times as many people as the big breweries(bud, miller, coors). That means for every drop of beer made in the country, bud, miller coors employs 1 person, and the craft brewing industry employs 66 people. Talk about job creation! This is artisan product that needs artisan attention.

Write your reps and the gov. Tell them no new beer tax for craft brewers.
This tax is on the breweries not on the consumers. We will feel the trickle-down. Olympia does not have the balls to introduce a per-pint sin tax, which most beer lovers would like be willing to pay (within reason). That would be a New Tax. A death wish for politicians in WA these days. The current plan is an extension and expansion of temporary tax. That allows our Representatives and our Governor to avoid calling it a new tax. Pussies. They don't pay it now, they will pay it then, new tax. Keep the tax on my side of the bar and I'll shut the hell up. Put the tax on the brewers' side of the bar and some of the tax-paying, job-creating breweries will end up shutting their doors.

You really think this has anything to do with children? Who benefits by hurting the small breweries? Follow the money. None of the lobbyists or the big beer companies care about educating our kids. This is something else.
If you're already doing nothing but "creating jobs and pumping money back into the economy" then what is the big deal about pumping a little bit extra?
Well-said, Flashpoint.

I would add..... Recognize that our Representatives and Governor lack the balls to actually propose a new sin tax on my pint of beer. Which I would likely pay without complaining because I think kids should have schools. This is a new tax. It is a new tax, but it allows them to say it is an "extension and expansion" of an existing tax istead of having the balls to call it what it is. Pussies. In reality, for the small breweries it is a new tax: they don't pay it today but will have to pay it tomorrow. New tax. Put the tax on my side of the bar and I'll probably shut up. They don't have the guts to do it.

Only the Governor and the House Finance Committee claim that this plan will not hurt our small breweries. They are alone in their opinion. It will hurt our small breweries and even force some out of business. It will restrict growth. It will limit jobs-creation. Everyone but the Gov and our Reps agree that will happen.

Who stands to benefit if the unbridled growth of the craft beer industry were stymied? Not the state's revenue stream. Small breweries, especially those in Washington, pay a lot of Washington taxes already and they employ a lot of people who in turn pay taxes. Follow the money! This is not about educating our kids. This is about something else. Big Beer is losing market share to small beer and it is pissing them off.

Some would argue that the Big Boys are already getting rogered pretty damn good by the Revenue Man. Maybe that's true. If so, extending this tax to the small breweries is nothing but a reach-around while they boof the big breweries.
@40 -- Exactly. Full disclosure -- I've been a fan of Inslee for a long time. I supported various congressional campaigns with my time and money. I've spent a lot of time with the man, but think he is being a complete pansy with this one. He doesn't want to go back on his stupid promise to "not raise taxes". Sorry, but for all intents and purposes, this is a tax increase. It is a tax increase on the little guy, and that, frankly, is stupid.

An income tax would be great, but it simply isn't going to happen. On the other hand, a small increase in the sales or property tax would raise way more money and not hurt as much. If Inslee is too chicken to make this proposal, then some other Democrat should, and force his hand. There is no way he would veto a proposal that increased taxes a little bit but paid for the things we need to pay for (like education).

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