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Deschutes Brewery, industry oppose proposed tax hikes on beer, wine and cider

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Health Authority has proposed to lawmakers increased taxes on beer, wine and ciders, as well as cigarettes, in its new budget.

According to the Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association, the 2021-23 biennium proposal would mean a $293 million tax increase on their industries of 800 percent.

If the Legislature approves the tax increases, the money raised would go to programs to help fight addiction.

The agency stated: "...Alcohol imposes large and avoidable costs on the health of all people in Oregon, and on Oregon's economy, communities and health care systems."

Lauding the move is Mike Marshall, co-founder and director of Oregon Recovers.

"As of last year, 9.3 percent of the population, so that's almost 400,000 Oregonians who have (been) untreated, and we rank 47th in access to treatment for people who need treatment," he said. "So there's a correlation there."

Marshall said he wishes the proposed taxes also included hard alcohol.

"Price is important at the low cost of things, the bottom-shelf alcohol, it's the bottom-shelf beer and wine --- those are the things the kids are buying, those are the things the binge drinkers are buying," he said.

Marshall maintained, however that, this move is a great first step.

"The breweries are not going to feel this, right?" he said. "If you go walking into your favorite brew pub and you order a beer for what $7, is that what it cost?"

"And it goes up to $8 under this proposal. There aren't many people that are going to stop going out to those (places)."

The beer and wine industry group said this week a recent survey found more than 80% of Oregonians oppose increasing beer taxes.

On Thursday, Deschutes Brewery CEO Michael Lalonde who opposes the tax hike, spoke to NewsChannel 21.

"For an 800 percent increase in our excise tax for the state of Oregon is a burden that beer manufacturers, craft brewers, restaurants bars retailers all of those businesses can't really take on right now," Lalonde said.

"We've gone through so much with COVID, the shutdowns that happened the layoffs that happened in the industry," he added.

Lalonde said he feels these industries are already heavily taxed.

"The average price of a six-pack at retail, 47 percent is taxes -- that's pretty incredible," he said.

He also thinks it could have an impact on his customer base.

"Some people think that when there's an increase in taxes that all of the businesses will just absorb it, which is something we just can't do," Lalonde said.

Business / Central Oregon / Government-politics / News / Top Stories
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Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.

Comments

27 Comments

  1. Yes! Amazing how cheap people here are yet will spend $$$ on overpriced beer, Starbucks and other garbage. You want the view then it’s gonna cost cheapskates.

  2. “Marshall maintained, however that, this move is a great first step.”

    Can ANYONE point to a single time when a progressive busy body has said “that’s enough power and money.”

  3. This guy doesn’t know how much Beer costs but can give you stats on all the victims who abuse alcohol. Quote: (If the Legislature approves the tax increases, the money raised would go to programs to help fight addiction). The Legislature has an addiction to money! The voters have a cure for that!

  4. Why would a responsible beer or vine consumer had to pay for someone who is an addict and irresponsible? Is there anything else democrats can do but raise taxes on the productive and give it to the deadbeats?

  5. Get rid of the 18% sales tax on cannabis as well as the taxes on alcohol and tobacco. End property taxes, too. And most of all, end income tax. Starve the beast, defund everything, government is the enemy of the people, if it wants money it can (and does) print all it needs. We can police ourselves and defend our shores without some nanny state making us pay it to tell us what to do.
    wwjgd?

    Or maybe there is a better way.
    I voted for who and what I want last Friday. I am willing to give our country, government and reality another chance. Of course, that’s just me and
    nobody that matters cares what I think or want, anyway.

  6. This is just another attempt to get more money from us, the public, because they can’t figure out how to live within their budget. Their target this time is alcohol, and many will be all for it because it is alcohol. Before you make up your mind if it is a good idea or not think about the next time when they want to tax your favorite whatever it might be. If we are going to be against increasing a tax on our own favorite “thing” then we need to be against increase taxes on everything.

  7. Oh, you mean making $7 a beer for 25 years isn’t enough money yet? Anyone who has a “brewery” needs to think of an original idea instead of the straight money grab that is clearly what the business plan is. Bend would be better if there was less beer. We don’t need all of them and we don’t need a beer theme for every event that is held.

    1. Another one who tries to tell others what they can and cannot do. If one wants to drink beer, smoke cigars it is their business and none of yours or mine, as long as they follow the law. And your reasoning is quite lame, businesses make money, no one forces anyone to buy their product. You might as well mention the builders and contractors in CO, they make a bunch of money too, so tax those also?

  8. There will be a lot of people that will fight this because alcohol is socially acceptable,
    and it’s also a very large industry, especially in Bend. The number of bars and microbreweries is absurd for a town the size of Bend…
    I wonder how many people that are against increased taxes on beer, support the never ending
    increase in taxes on cigarettes ?

    1. the separate industries need to stick together, and the people need to stick together against the taxes. they will tax us to death going after individual markets, now it’s a lowly drinker instead of just those lowly cigarette smokers or motel owners

  9. If the binge drinkers aren’t buying expensive brewery beer, and brewery beer customers will still buy the same amount of beer at $8… what’s the point of raising the price there?

  10. that’s all the state needs, more tax money to mismanage on programs that don’t work. what’s wrong with the concept of addicts paying for their own treatment. people don’t learn to change their behavior unless they have to pay for their own mistakes.

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