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Proposed Oregon Beer Tax Still Alive

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With less than two weeks left in Oregon's 2009 legislature session, Rep. Ben Cannon (D-Portland) and Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) are proposing an updated version of the beer tax they introduced earlier this year, the Bend Bulletin reported June 18.

The modified version of the bill would add a penny per pint to the tax paid by local brewers who produce two million barrels of beer or less per year. All Oregon-based brewers would fall into that group, according to Cannon. Larger brewers such as Anheuser-Busch would see their tax rate increase to almost 10 cents per pint.

In 2002, Alaska passed a two-tiered beer tax increase, and smaller breweries' market shares improved significantly because the tax trimmed the price differential between smaller and larger breweries, according to Cannon.

Critics say that consumers would feel the effects of the increased per-barrel price when retailers and distributors mark up their prices.

Cannon and Prozanski's earlier bill would have increased Oregon's excise tax on beer by about 1,900 percent. The sponsors said the increase would have paid for drug and alcohol addiction services in the state and would have assisted in closing the deficit in the 2009-2011 budget.

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