Byron Center lawmaker proposes beer tax hike

Posted at 5:02 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 17:03:45-04

LANSING, Mich. — A Byron Center lawmaker has introduced a bill in Lansing to raise Michigan's tax on beer.

Representative Tom Hooker, R-Byron Center, introduced the legislation Wednesday to raise the tax to five cents per 12-ounce serving.

The Michigan Alcohol Policy Promoting Health and Safety says the tax on beer in the state of Michigan has not changed since 1966.  They are in support of the legislation.

“This is to help fund health and treatment programs associated with the consumption of alcohol, as well as lead to a decrease in crimes tied to alcohol,” said Rep. Hooker in a press release.

“With fewer state General Fund dollars dedicated today than 20 years ago toward prevention, treatment and legal programs involving alcohol abuse, we need to address this growing problem. The people who choose to consume beer should help with a solution to this issue, just as people who smoke have helped fund health programs associated with smoking.”

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is among groups urging lawmakers to reject the beer tax hike, arguing it contains a roughly 250 percent increase in Michigan’s beer tax that threatens to put businesses at a huge competitive disadvantage with neighboring states.

“Raising the beer tax is a bad idea from a lame duck lawmaker,” said Michigan Chamber President & CEO Rich Studley in a news release. “A nearly 250 percent beer tax hike would have a chilling effect on Michigan’s craft brewers, distributors and retailers and would bring this growth industry to a grinding halt.”

Studley called the legislation bad public policy that will harm a thriving industry.

Hooker is finishing out his third term in the 77th House District.

FOX 17 is talking with Rep. Hooker and others involved in the beer industry tonight and will have more on later editions of FOX 17 News.