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50/50 Support for Beer Tax

April 1st, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

As state lawmakers look to cigarettes and other sin taxes to fund the state budget, a hike in the tax on beer is on the table, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, it is a long shot.

Florida drinks over 500 million gallons of beer a year. The current tax is 48 cents a gallon. Some are suggesting a slight bump.

“A pint of beer, maybe a penny,” Sen. Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) said. “A gallon of beer maybe 6 cents. 6 to 8 cents.”

At Mikes Beer Barn near the FSU campus, manager Dan Felger doesnt think a few pennies will do much to harm sales.

“People are still going to continue to drink,” Felger said. “We’re here in a college town. They’re going to continue to drink, they really are.”

At the Capitol, there is concern.

While a higher cigarette tax is gaining momentum, a higher tax on beer has, at best, a 50-50 chance.

Finance and Tax Chairman Thad Altman is treading lightly.

“We know that we are lower than Alabama and Georgia in that particular tax,” Altman said. “But relative to other states, we are relatively high.”

Governor Charlie Crist, who has come close to embracing a user fee on cigarettes, is pouring ice on the beer tax. We asked him the difference between a fee and a tax.

“When it hits everybody, that’s clearly what it is,” Crist said. “When it’s just individual users, then it’s not.”

And, apparently because so many people drink beer, policy makers are thinking twice.

Posted in Business, Charlie Crist, Legislature, State Budget, State News, Taxes | No Comments »

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