NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The brewing industry wants Tennessee lawmakers to declare last call on the state's ballooning beer taxes.
Under a proposal unveiled Wednesday, the state wouldn't lose its ranking as the highest-taxed beer in the country, but it would halt future increases tied to rising costs and inflation.
"It impacts consumers and there are less beer choices out there. Its hard for small breweries to flourish and grow. It just really limits what we are able to do," said Linus Hall, of local Yazoo Brewing Company.
Beer in Tennessee is currently subject to three taxes. Brewers pay federal and state taxes per barrel, and then a 17 percent tax is charged to wholesalers based on price. Consumers pay sales taxes on top of the previous charges.
"Tennessee beer drinkers are already paying more than their fair share, but this is getting out of control," said Scott Turner, president of Ajax Turner Co. Inc. "We are completely out of step with the nation's 49 other states. In addition to higher taxes, this is having a detrimental effect on economic development and consumer choice."
The measure would convert the local tax to be based on volume. The proposal would mean no loss in revenues for city and county governments in the first year but would halt the steady growth in beer tax collections in future years.