If you’re a regular Bulletin reader, you’ve already seen me rant about how unfairly taxes are levied on the brewing industry, who has to pay more taxes than any other product sold in America, except tobacco. With the help and support of the Brewers Association, H.R. 4278 has been introduced into thee U.S. House of Representatives seeking a redress of those egregious taxes. The BA has issued a national action alert, asking beer lovers everywhere to contact their elected officials to ask them to co-sponsor the bill. Here’s the press release:
Federal legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 4278 (link opens a PDF), seeks to enact a reduction in beer excise tax for America’s small brewers.
For small brewers brewing less than 6 million barrels annually, this legislation would cut the small brewer tax rate in half, to $3.50/barrel on the first 60,000 barrels, and reduce the upper tax rate from $18/barrel to $16/barrel on beer production above 60,000 barrels up to 2 million barrels.
Of the 1,525 breweries in America, 962 are brewpubs and 470 are the smallest bottling breweries, which produce volumes of 15,000 barrels of beer a year or less and sell their beers in local markets. Once barrel equals about 13.8 cases of beer.
The original small brewer tax rate of $7/barrel was established in 1976 and has never been updated. Since then, the annual U.S. production of America’s largest brewery increased from about 45 million to 107 million barrels and over 200 million barrels globally (or 1,240,000,000 five-gallon batches of homebrew!). Much has changed and the challenges small brewers face as small American businesses have grown dramatically since 1976.
Why is this a good idea?
- A tax reduction will help grow small business breweries and provide greater access to the beers you enjoy.
- Harvard University’s John Friedman’s study, Economic Impact of Small Brewers Excise Tax Reduction (H.R. 4278), (link opens a PDF), reveals that H.R. 4278 would also help stimulate job creation quickly and at a low cost:
- The bill would generate more than 2,700 new jobs over the first year to 18 months, followed by an average of 375 new jobs per year over the following four years.
Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask that he/she sign on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 4278.
We have developed a resource page to give you the information and tools you need to make the case to your Representative for supporting this tax relief measure—and by extension, for supporting the small brewery businesses that are such a vital part of our local communities.
On the resource page, you will find a link to a list of current sponsors of H.R. 4278. If your Representative DOES NOT appear on this list, please take a moment and email your Member of Congress to ask them to cosponsor H.R. 4278.
If your Representative is already a cosponsor, please email him/her a brief thank you for their support of small brewers and you, the craft beer drinker and enthusiast.
Here’s some links to help you find out who your elected officials are so you know who to contact:
- Contacting the Congress
- Project Vote Smart
- U.S. House of Representatives official website
- U.S. Senate official website
- Who Is My Representative?
Okay, people get contacting. Your brewers thank you.