WASHINGTON, DC - Two bills have recently been introduced in Congress to rollback the 1991 federal excise tax increase on America's beer drinkers. The Republican bill (H.R. 3817) is sponsored by U.S. Representative Phil English (R-PA) along with Reps. Jon Christensen (R-NE) and John Ensign (R-NV). The Democratic bill (H.R. 3997) is sponsored by Representatives Richard Neal (D-MA) and Robert Matsui (D-CA). These bills would provide necessary and long overdue tax relief to American beer consumers. The legislation received high marks from the trade association representing nation's brewers. "Members of the beer industry believe that the time has come for Congress to repeal the 1991 beer tax increase. Rolling back the beer tax would be good for the economy, good for American workers and good for American beer drinkers -- who are hard-working, middle-income Americans," stated Raymond J. McGrath, Beer Institute President.

According to McGrath, rolling back the beer tax would be a good first step in restoring fairness to the tax system. "After all, the same bill that doubled the beer tax added taxes to certain luxury items, like yachts, private airplanes, expensive jewelry and furs. All of those luxury taxes have been repealed since 1991. It just doesn't seem fair to us that beer drinkers should still be paying, while wealthier Americans get the break."

"Americans are getting nickeled and dimed by the government every time they buy a beer. Forty-three (43) percent of the cost of every beer is in hidden taxes. We believe that is too much for American's beer drinkers to bear," McGrath noted. "As Congress considers providing much needed relief to the middle-class, we want to encourage the House and Senate to roll back the beer tax. Beer taxes are one of the most regressive of all taxes, hitting lower-income families nearly five times as hard as upper-income families," McGrath continued.

The 1991 doubling of the beer tax was the largest in history. One study shows that 60,000 jobs were lost due to decreased sales. But, the Beer Institute noted that most of these jobs could be recovered with a beer tax rollback pointing to a recent study by DRI/McGraw-Hill which found that rolling back this tax to the pre-1991 level would actually restore about 50,000 new jobs.

McGrath continued, "significantly, a beer tax rollback would not come at a high price to the government. Seventy-five percent of a beer tax rollback would be offset by balance sheet improvements from the new jobs which would be created and the improved economy." The federal government would also continue to collect over $1.5 billion in excise taxes at the pre-1991 level. Aside from excise taxes, government collects $15 billion in other federal, state and local taxes from the brewing and selling of beer.

McGrath added, "We urge Congress to rollback the beer tax and let Americans keep the change."

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