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Lawmakers Propose Beer-Tax Hike in Wisc.

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Wisconsin’s beer tax hasn’t increased in 40 years, but a new legislative proposal would raise the tax from 0.6 cents per bottle to 3 cents, the Associated Press reported April 29.

The measure is supported by health officials, police groups and others but opposed by Wisconsin’s powerful alcohol industry and Gov. Jim Doyle. Scott Stenger, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Tavern League, said that raising the beer tax would hurt bars and craft brewers. “The worst possible time to look at doing something like this is in this economy,” he said.

State Rep. Terese Berceau introduced the bill; a similar measure introduced last year attracted only one cosponsor out of 132 state lawmakers.

Only Missouri and Wyoming have lower beer taxes than Wisconsin. “Wisconsin has a drinking problem of national renown,” Berceau said. “Let’s quit enabling the problem in Wisconsin by not directing resources to the problem.”

The bill would use the estimated $58 million in new tax revenues to reduce alcohol-related crime, pay for addiction treatment, and fund prevention programs.

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