The Oregon brewing industry is facing a nearly $50 per barrel increase on beer taxes – an increase of over 1900% – which would make Oregon beer taxes the highest in the country. If House Bill 2461 passes, it could result in the loss of up to 3,400 Oregon jobs and devastate an industry that currently supports 5,200 direct and 10,000 indirect employees.
If you oppose this excessive and unfair tax increase, here are five simple things you can do to make your voice heard:
1. Email the House Revenue Committee –Use the sample letter below and email the members of the House Revenue committee members at http://tinyurl.com/crw2gj .
2. Attend the hearing – On Monday, February 23rd, the House Revenue Committee will be holding a hearing at the state capitol to address House Bill 2461. If 100 Oregon beer enthusiasts attend the hearing it will send a strong message to legislators that Oregonians are clearly against this legislation. Visit http://tinyurl.com/ahhhhu to get more details about how to attend the hearing and carpooling options.
3. Make your voice heard – If you won’t be able to attend the hearing and rally at the capitol on Monday, call or email your representative and members of the House Revenue Committee to let them know what you think about the proposed tax increase. You can send your message directly at http://www.leg.state.or.us/
4. Get social – The Oregon Brewers Guild has created several social networking applications devoted to connecting consumers opposed to House Bill 2461. These groups are a vital online community and help spread the word when news and events happen. We’re on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/d6x6sn ) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/
5. Sign the petition – The Oregon Brewers Guild is collecting signatures for an electronic petition against HB 2461. This might seem self explanatory, but the more signatures we’re able to collect, the bigger the impact on legislators. You can sign it here http://bit.ly/8rB0Y. After you’ve signed it, you can generate additional support by sending a link to your friends and posting the URL on websites and/or forums.
Here is a sample letter that you can send off to the House Revenue committee, your legislator legislator or send out to your e-newsletter or blog. Please feel free to add in your own experience where it talks about how the tax will affect you directly.Monday February, 23rd 2009
To: Chairman Phil Barnhart
Members of the Oregon House of Representatives Revenue Committee
RE: HB 2461
Oregon is in the middle of an economic crisis, facing major budget deficits and the potential loss of thousands of family wage jobs. Now, more than ever, the public is looking to our government to provide strategic and smart leadership to turn the economy around.
It is neither strategic nor smart to raise the beer tax by more than 1900%; in fact, it would be unwise and harmful to the economy to approve any increase in Oregon's beer tax.
The craft brewing industry has been extremely good for Oregon. Oregon breweries directly employ more than 5,200 people at a family wage; 2,300 of those jobs were created in the last 5 years. For every 1,000 barrels of Oregon brewed beer consumed in Oregon during the past 5 years, more than 30 jobs were created.
This green and entrepreneurial industry - which is built on uniquely Oregon advantages such as agriculture, people, and lifestyle - contributes $375 million to the Oregon economy every year. It does this without receiving state tax breaks or subsidies, while continuing to pay tens of millions of dollars in existing excise taxes.
The proposed 1900% tax increase – from the current tax of $2.60 a barrel to $52.21 - would be the single biggest tax increase on beer in US history, giving Oregon the dubious distinction of having the highest beer excise tax in the country. (Insert information about your Oregon craft beer experience here.)
Any tax increase, and especially the proposed House Bill 2461, would devastate what has been an incredible economic success story for the State of Oregon. At this time and in this economy, our state cannot afford to put more people out of work and harm an industry that is serving Oregon - which is exactly what a tax increase will do.