Proposed California Beer Tax

New Drys on the move again?

Higher state tax on beer?, By Mike Zapler, Mercury News Sacramento Bureau, 04/11/2008 01:34:17 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO – Joe Six-pack will have to pay a lot more to get his buzz on if Assemblyman Jim Beall has his way.
The San Jose Democrat on Thursday proposed raising the beer tax by $1.80 per six-pack, or 30 cents per can or bottle. The current tax is 2 cents per can. That’s an increase of about 1,500 percent.

Beall said the tax would generate $2 billion a year to fund health care services, crime prevention and programs to prevent underage drinking and addiction.

Ack! Most of the beer I buy is already in the $7-10 range. At those new rates, I think I would be seriously investigating home brewing!

My favorite quote from Assemblyman Beall, “The people who use alcohol should pay for part of the cost to society, just like we’ve accepted that concept with tobacco.”

Fortunately, many of his peers in the Assembly see Beall’s bill as a non-starter noting, “‘I predict the shelf life will be very short,’ said Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Sacramento, vice chairman of the budget committee. ‘It’s a piecemeal approach to the budget that completely avoids any discussion of spending discipline, which is fundamentally why we have the problem that we have.'”

The proposed bill is a California constitutional amendment which would require 2/3 approval of both the Assembly and Senate along with voter approval.

Interestingly, this is the same Assemblyman who got so called “Alco-Pops” reclassified last year as hard liquor. This previous effort will raise the price of those sweet malt liquor based beverages by approximately $2 a six pack starting June 2008.