MI rep. pitches beer tax hike to fund alcohol abuse programs

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan representative has introduced a bill that would raise the state’s beer tax.

If approved, the legislation proposed on Tuesday by Rep. Thomas Hooker (R-Byron Center) would raise the state’s tax on beer from $6.30 per barrel to $21.70 per barrel. That is about 5 cents more per 12 oz. can of beer.

Under the plan, the additional funds would go towards funding substance abuse courts and substance abuse issues as a whole.

>>PDF: Inside House Bill 5873

“This is to help fund health and treatment programs associated with the consumption of alcohol, as well as lead to a decrease in crimes tied to alcohol,” stated Rep. Hooker in a Wednesday news release. “With fewer state general fund dollars dedicated today than 20 years ago toward prevention, treatment and legal programs involving alcohol abuse, we need to address this growing problem. The people who choose to consume beer should help with a solution to this issue, just as people who smoke have helped fund health programs associated with smoking.”

Hooker says Michigan’s beer tax hasn’t been raised in more than 50 years. However, the executive director of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild says the state already has the highest beer tax in the Great Lakes area and raising the tax that much would slow the growth of a booming industry.

“Our members are overwhelmingly small business owners.  They need every dollar that they can muster to add equipment, space and jobs,” said Scott Graham with the Michigan Brewers Guild.

House Bill 5873 would not affect wine or alcohol spirits.

Hooker’s term in Lansing ends later this year, so it’s possible the legislation won’t make it past the House floor.

Hooker is running unopposed in November for Byron Township Supervisor.

 

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