A statewide campaign "to reform 1950s era beer tax policy that is the root cause of Tennessee’s dubious rank as the nation’s highest beer tax state" will conduct a Chattanooga rally at Mellow Mushroom, 205 Broad St., on Friday at 5 p.m. Participants will include legislative sponsor Cameron Sexton, Chattanooga area beer distributors and brewers and hundreds of beer enthusiasts, it was stated.
The Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013, filed Jan.
29 by Rep. Sexton (R-Crossville) and Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), "proposes to modernize Tennessee beer tax with a simple modification: It would calculate wholesale tax on volume rather than price and solve Tennessee’s odd (and nationally unparalleled) tax policy that currently results in the beer tax rate rising exponentially higher every year."
Officials said, "Here’s how much higher it rises: In 2008, Tennessee caught and passed Alaska as the top state taxer of beer. By 2012, Tennessee had increased that lead by 12 points, and if the state keeps rising at the current average annual price increase of $1.15, in five years the average tax rate will be $42.75 per barrel – 29 percent higher than Alaska; in 10 years it will be $48.50 – 46 percent higher; in 15 years, it will be $54.25 per barrel – 64 percent higher."
The statewide Fix the Beer Tax campaign launched Jan. 30 in Nashville and has since rallied in Memphis, Knoxville and Johnson City, officials said.
"This week the campaign will be visible in dozens of Chattanooga area restaurants and craft brewery establishments, inviting consumers though social media to voice support and contact legislators. The campaign is on the Web atwww.fixthebeertax.com; on Facebook atwww.facebook/fixthebeertax; and on Twitter at@fixthebeertax," it was stated.
“Tennessee is beyond the tipping point,” said Rich Foge, president of Tennessee Malt Beverage Association. “The current tax policy allows the tax rate to rise unchecked at such a dramatic rise that it is now impacting competitiveness, economic opportunity and costs and choice for consumers. The tax rate is out of control – it’s time to modernize this old tax and make it right.”