Oregon Commission Votes Down Alcohol Tax

 
The Distilled Spirits Council today commended the Oregon Liquor Control Commission for voting against an alcohol tax proposal that would have added 25 cents per bottle of distilled spirits. 
 
“The OLCC should be commended for protecting the state’s hospitality industry and its consumers from additional taxes on alcohol,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy. 
 
“This is an example of good government and underscores the importance of transparency in protecting Oregon consumers.  Despite intense pressure from the legislature to pass the tax, the OLCC voted down the measure and upheld the prior notice rule, which allowed time for the hospitality industry and public to comment on the negative consequences of this hidden tax.”
 
In a 3-2 vote, the Commission rejected the legislative proposal, which would have increased the bottle tax an additional 25 cents on top of the “temporary” 50-cent surcharge that was extended last week by the Commission.  The Distilled Spirits Council, including its Oregon craft distiller members, voiced strong opposition to the increase, noting that Oregon has the third highest spirits tax rate in the country with 70 percent of the typical purchase price already going to taxes of some kind.
 
The prior notice rule requires that before the OLCC raises an alcohol tax, the Commission should hold a public hearing on the issue and allow 45 days for public comment.  In this case, the OLCC gave the public 45 days and held a public hearing.  However, legislators undermined the spirit of the prior notice rule by working to cement a tax deal and render any public OLCC vote meaningless.
 
 
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