The last time Oregon raised the state’s beer tax was 1977….31 years ago and counting. But if there was ever a time when a ten-cent a beer tax increase was needed, it’s now. And groups such as Oregon Partnership are bound to be vocal at the Legislature, trying to convince legislators that the millions of dollars generated by a beer tax increase would go directly toward mental health, prevention, treatment and enforcement programs that have been devastated by budget cuts and an ugly recession.
This is money that would not disappear into the general fund budget. These are revenues that in the short run and long haul, SAVE taxpayers money for people who would otherwise end up in emergency rooms, jail, or both.
Make no mistake, such an increase would only come from the big guys…the Anheauser Busch and Coors of the world, not smaller local breweries. Almost 90% of the beer consumed in Oregon comes from outside the state.
There are many advantages to this long overdue hike in the beer tax in Oregon, and hopefully, the new Legislature will realize what the public has, according to surveys – that Oregonians will pay pennies more for a beer, if they know the money is going to be well spent, do some good, help people in need, and not be a drain on local business.