Possible Alcohol Tax Increases Upset Liquor Producers

A proposed bill to raise taxes on alcohol has people up in arms because the bill could raise the tax on beer, wine, and liquor from 11 % to 20 %.

On Sunday, representatives here in Kentucky within the alcohol industry were at the Liquor Barn in Lexington handing out fliers letting people know there could be a tax increase on alcohol, which they say would hit them hard.

Across the state, more than 20,000 fliers were sent out to retail stores to be handed to people buying alcohol alerting them about the proposed bill.

Right now, Kentuckians are paying 11% for alcohol, but with the proposed 6 to 9 % increase, that tax could jump up as high as 20%.

Kentucky's distillers say another tax just isn't necessary.

Eric Gregory with the Kentucky Distillers Association told us, "what the legislature is looking at is either an increase in wholesale tax, which would increase the price of the product on the shelf, or adding an additional 6% sales tax when you go to the cash register. That 6% tax is already included in the wholesale tax, so that would be double taxation."

Kentucky's distillers and store owners say if the bill does pass, the alcohol industry here in the state would take a hit.

That's why representatives have been out at the stores handing out fliers trying to get people to contact their local representatives about the matter.

Legislative leaders, however, say the bill would put a significant dent in our states multi-million dollar budget shortfall. This bill also includes a thirty cents increase in the state's cigarette tax as well.

The proposed bill is expected to be on Governor Beshear's desk by Friday.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Bourbon and beer makers say Kentucky lawmakers would hurt business if they pass a higher tax increase on
alcoholic drinks.

Legislative leaders are considering a possible tax increase on cigarettes and alcohol to help offset the state's $456 million projected budget shortfall. Gov. Steve Beshear has proposed a 70-cent increase in the tax on cigarettes, although a hike of that magnitude is not likely.

Lawmakers have been negotiating in private on a plan and have not released any specific details. Still, a vote could come by this Friday.

Anheuser Busch spokesman Brian Bogard says a tax increase on alcohol is "a tax on working people, plain and simple."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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