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Beer tax fixed: Tennessee governor signs beer tax reform bill into law

April 23, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Government

Fix the Beer TaxTennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today signed a bill into law that will reform the state’s beer wholesale tax that has contributed to the state having the highest beer taxes in the nation.

The so-called Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 —  the subject of a statewide “Fix the Beer Tax” campaign — had been approved by Tennessee’s Senate and House of Representatives and was awaiting Haslam’s pen.

Proponents hope the new law will spur craft beer entrepreneurs to open businesses or expand their current ones in Tennessee, help contain increases in beer prices and improve the variety of beers on shelves and taps. The campaign drew statewide support from every level of Tennessee’s beer industry, from large brewers such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors to craft brewers and beer wholesalers.

Instead of the present 17% tax on the wholesale price, the bill revises it to instead impose a volume tax of $35.60 per barrel of 31 gallons of beer sold. The tax upon barrels containing more or less than 31 gallons would be taxed at a proportionate rate.

The “Fix the Beer Tax” coalition, which lobbied for passage of the law, was being spearheaded by the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild and Tennessee Malt Beverage Association.

Tennessee House approves beer tax reform; bill now awaits governor’s signature

April 10, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Government

Fix the Beer Tax

Beer tax reform in Tennessee is but a signature away from becoming law.

The state House of Representatives today gave its near-unanimous endorsement of the so-called Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013, voting to approve it by an 87-2 margin. The action follows Monday’s 30-1 approval in the Tennessee Senate.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature.

Fix the Beer TaxThe Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 seeks to reform the 17% beer wholesale tax in Tennessee, which contributes to the state having the highest beer taxes in the nation.

Instead of the present 17% tax on the wholesale price, the bill would revise it to instead impose a volume tax of $35.60 per barrel of 31 gallons of beer sold. The tax upon barrels containing more or less than 31 gallons would be taxed at a proportionate rate.

The “Fix the Beer Tax” coalition, which has been lobbying for passage of the law, is being spearheaded by the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild and Tennessee Malt Beverage Association.

Read more about today’s vote on commercialappeal.com.

Also, read the coalition’s press release below:

Tax Reform Tapped for Tennessee

Tennessee General Assembly passes Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013

    
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee General Assembly voted Wednesday to approve the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013. The near unanimous vote in both the House and Senate only added to the excitement surrounding a campaign deemed a legislative sensation.

The reform proposal to fix the highest beer tax in the nation has drawn statewide support from every level of Tennessee’s beer industry, from large brewers such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors to craft brewers and beer wholesalers. As the spotlight heated up on state lawmakers, it also caught the support and attention of a national audience.

“This tax reform makes Tennessee more appealing to business,” said Rich Foge, president of the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association. “It will attract new brewers to the state, as well as help those already here to expand and create additional jobs.”

Senate Bill 422 and House Bill 999, sponsored by Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Representative Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), will convert Tennessee’s outdated price-based tax to a more business-friendly volume based tax. Currently, Tennessee has the highest beer tax rate in the nation, propelling higher and higher every year with inflation.

“When it came down to it,” said Senator Ken Yager (R- Harriman) on the Senate floor Monday, “this vote was about whether or not Tennessee would become competitive in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.”

Tennessee leads all other states’ beer tax rate by a 12 percent margin. In comparison to our neighbors, Arkansas’ tax per barrel rings up at $7.51 and Mississippi’s at $13.23, while Tennessee tops out at a whopping $37 per barrel.

“In a historically low tax state, Tennessee’s 1950s era triple layer beer tax has been no friend to businesses,” said Sexton. “Whether you are a small brewery or a large scale operation, the tax has hindered expansion and recruitment as well as punished growth. It was simply time for a change in the tax structure and everyone involved is honored to have enjoyed such sweeping support.”

Since the bill’s introduction, more than 2,000 supporters of the grass-roots Fix the Beer Tax Campaign rallied in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis and Tri-Cities, resulting each time in a flurry of social media and support from local businesses.

“This is also a victory for Tennessee consumers who will benefit from more selection in the marketplace as more beer brands become available as a direct result of this new tax structure,” Foge added.

The bill will now head to the Governor’s desk for a signature, as the statewide sound of clinking glasses swells in a toast to Tennessee’s brighter future.

Tennessee Senate passes Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013; House to vote Wednesday

April 09, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Government

Fix the Beer TaxThe Tennessee Senate on Monday approved the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 by a 30-1 margin. The vote sends the bill to the state’s House of Representatives, which is set to take it up Wednesday.

The Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 seeks to reform the 17% beer wholesale tax in Tennessee, which contributes to the state having the highest beer taxes in the nation.

Instead of the present 17% tax on the wholesale price, the bill would revise it to instead impose a tax of $35.60 per barrel of 31 gallons of beer sold. The tax upon barrels containing more or less than 31 gallons would be taxed at a proportionate rate.

The “Fix the Beer Tax” coalition, which is lobbying for passage of the law, is is being spearheaded by the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild and Tennessee Malt Beverage Association.

Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 advances in Tennessee legislature

March 21, 2013 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Government

Fix the Beer TaxFor those following the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013, there was some movement this week.

The House Local Government Committee approved the measure by a 14-2 vote, while the Senate State and Local Government Committee also endorsed it, 9-0.

The bill now moves to the budget subcommittee of the House Finance Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration, according to The Tennessean. If the bill can make it through the committees, it could come up for a full vote of the Senate within two weeks, and the House in three weeks, the paper reports.

The Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 seeks to reform the 17% beer wholesale tax in Tennessee, which contributes to the state having the highest beer taxes in the nation.

The “Fix the Beer Tax” coalition, which is lobbying for passage of the law, is is being spearheaded by the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild and Tennessee Malt Beverage Association

The Fix the Beer Tax campaign issued this release on Tuesday:

House and Senate Advance Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013

Second and third legislative votes are 9-0 and 14-2

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cheers, and on to round three as the House Local Government Committee and the Senate State and Local Government Committee today approved a reform proposal to rein in Tennessee’s sky high beer tax rate.

Current price- based tax policy, enacted in 1954, results in a compounding effective tax rate that is 12 percent higher than even No. 2 Alaska and ratcheting higher every year with inflation.

This fact caught the attention of Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), leading them to sponsor the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013.

The legislation proposes a simple change to a more business and consumer friendly volume-based tax— much like wine and liquor are taxed in the state of Tennessee.

“Today was an important step towards reforming a tax that is working against Tennessee,” said Sexton. “The subject may be beer, but this bill is about ultimately about creating jobs and growing business.”

A coalition of statewide supporters, including the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association and the Craft Brewers Guild, has emerged to back the reform proposal rallying in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Tri-Cities, with over 1,000 Tennesseans turning out.

“It’s time to encourage rather than discourage economic investment, and to have a pro-growth policy for businesses like mine,” said Linus Hall, President of the Craft Brewers Guild and Owner of Yazoo Brewery in Nashville.

The campaign is on the Web at www.fixthebeertax.com; on Facebook at www.facebook/fixthebeertax; and on Twitter at @fixthebeertax.