DISCUS has expressed pushback on a newly proposed tax. Oregon Governor Tina Kotek proposed an additional $0.50 per bottle surcharge on spirits containers in her budget released this week. This is on top of the temporary $0.50 per bottle surcharge recently extended by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC).
“Increasing taxes on responsible spirits consumers and hospitality businesses in the midst of continued negative financial impacts from the pandemic and in addition to high inflation, supply chain issues and staff shortages will be harmful,” said Adam Smith, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Vice President of State Government Relations. “Governor Kotek should be supporting local hospitality businesses and consumers during this challenging time, not increasing the already heavy tax burdens they face. Increased taxes will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Higher prices lead to a loss in sales, and a loss in sales leads businesses to cut employment.”
In the proposal, the new tax would fund addiction and recovery services.
“While well-intentioned, putting the tax burden solely on spirits businesses and consumers – the vast majority of whom enjoy spirits responsibly – is misguided,” Smith said. “State services should be funded by all taxpayers, not a singular group which already faces the second highest tax rate in the nation. The distilled spirits industry maintains its full supportive of evidence-based solutions that help prevent alcohol abuse.”
The governor’s proposal requires legislative approval while the temporary surcharge was continued by a vote of the OLCC commissioners.