Don’t look for the Legislature to increase the beer tax to pay for the cost of stricter drunk driving laws. That prediction from Wisconsin Grocers Association President Brandon Scholz.
“This is not a time to increase taxes,” says Scholz. “You’ve got a lot of people in this state that are involved in the retail and the manufacturing side, the brewery side, that contribute to the state already. And now going to the consumers and asking them for more money out of their pocket (is) the wrong thing to do.”
There’s renewed talk at the Capitol of increasing the beer tax to pay for the cost of stricter OWI laws, but Scholz doesn’t think it’ll happen. “There are those that continue to think that, well, ‘how can we take more money from people to pay for some programs that, you know, we think are important?’ We’ve always said, if the programs are important, find a way to pay for it out of general purpose revenue, the taxes that you already have in Wisconsin,” says Scholz. “Let’s not go back to the people of Wisconsin, to ask them for more money.”
Wisconsin’s beer tax hasn’t been raised since 1969, and Scholz is betting the latest proposal to do so will fall flat. “The buzz on beer tax may not be a very wide circle. It may be the same small group of people who want to advocate for more taxes in Wisconsin,” says Scholz. “There is no support for raising the beer tax.”
WIBA’s John Colbert contributed this report