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Lori Levy
Beer Institute


Washington, D.C., May 24, 2000 - As Congress considers repealing the federal excise tax on telephones this week, the more than 80 million responsible consumers who drink malt beverages continue to be burdened with discriminatory taxes with every beer purchased, according to Beer Institute.

"The doubling of the federal excise tax on beer nearly 10 years ago had a profound, negative effect on employees throughout the industry, from brewers to wholesalers and retailers. Sales declined, more than 30,000 workers were displaced, and the middle class was hit with yet another tax hike," said Jeff Becker, president, Beer Institute.

In 1991, as part of the effort to balance the budget, taxes on beer were doubled, and taxes on luxury items such as yachts, jewelry, furs and high-priced automobiles were increased as well. Since 1991, all of the Ôluxury taxes' have been removed or are being phased out. Congress is currently debating the repeal of the telephone tax, or Ôtax on talking' on the grounds that it is regressive and discriminatory.

But Becker explained that the beer excise taxes are among the most regressive and discriminatory in the federal tax system. "Nearly 65 percent of all beer is consumed in households with less than $45,000 annual income. The hidden taxes on beer hit lower-income families nearly five times as hard as upper-income families."

A rollback of the beer tax would help restore fairness to the tax system, create new jobs, and lift a tax that hits America's working men and women the hardest. "With forty-three percent of the cost of every beer hidden in taxes, Americans are getting nickeled and dimed by the government every time they buy a beer." Becker said.

Legislation to rollback the 1991 beer excise tax increased has been proposed and Beer Institute will continue to work with Congress to help rollback this inequitable and excessive tax.


Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility.


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