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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.

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