Bill proposes increase on beer tax - WNEM TV 5

Bill proposes increase on beer tax

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A controversial new bill is angering business owners and beer drinkers across the state.

However, some believe the ends justify the means and is well worth the extra cost to consumers.

A lawmaker is proposing a bill that would raise the beer tax by more than 200 percent.

"It would affect the store. I mean, it would affect all stores," said Jeff Opperman, owner of Opperman's Cork and Ale.

His store sells case after case of beer every day. That means if a proposed beer tax passes, the price of each of those cases would go up.

"The good news is that it would be across the board so nobody would have an advantage over this tax than someone else," Opperman said.

Consumers currently pay 1.9 cents for a 12 oz can or bottle of beer. With the proposed tax they would pay 6.5 cents per can. That's a 342 percent increase.

"I would say it's more like a user fee," said State Rep. Tom Hooker.

Hooker proposed the bill. He said the money raised by the tax increase would help fund alcohol abuse programs.

"It's to get people to realize we have a problem. In my own family, I mean families are destroyed from over-alcohol abuse," Hooker said.

Opperman is concerned the bill would hurt Michigan's booming craft beer industry.

"People would go across the border to buy things cause it's cheaper. Or if that tax is on all of our Michigan breweries, going out of state. Now we're pricing ourselves higher than the rest of the market," Opperman said.

However, Opperman doesn't think the tax increase would ever stop people from buying beer.

"I think they'll still buy the beer. As with the recession, people might go down a step. They would buy $10 bottle of wine, now a $6 bottle. I think people might do the same with beer," he said.

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