DFL Rep. Karen Clark wants to raise taxes on barrels of beer from $4.60 to $16.17

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Image by Tatiana Craine
Clark's proposal would almost certainly increase the cost of tippin' one back, which got us thinking: Isn't there some sort of tax loophole we could close instead?
Rep. Karen Clark, D-Minneapolis, is one half of the tandem leading the push for marriage equality. She's also leading the push to increase taxes on beer, wine, and liquor.

SEE ALSO: Sunday liquor sales seem to be dead on arrival yet again

Yesterday, Clark's proposal to increase taxes on 31-gallon barrels of beer from $4.60 to $16.17 got a hearing with the House Taxes Committee. No vote was taken, but the communications director for the DFL House caucus says Clark's proposal could still be included in this year's omnibus liquor bill.

If Clark's proposed tax increase were approved and passed on to consumers, it'd round up to roughly four cents per pint. The increased tax on wine amounts to four cents per glass, and the tax hike on liquor to 10 cents per shot.

Clark argues the tax increase is needed because costs to the state associated with alcohol abuse are about 17 times greater than the money brought in from liquor taxes, according to a Minnesota Department of Health report published in April 2011.

During an appearance on MPR, Clark pointed out that the state pays for "everything from needs for health intervention, chemical dependency treatment, also law enforcement costs, prison costs... We really need to figure out ways to deal with the cost of alcohol overuse."

According to an MPR report, "Gov. Mark Dayton doesn't currently support the tax, but recently signaled that he may be open to it."

We suppose Clark's logic makes sense, but it'd still suck for those of us who are on a budget and like to go out and responsibly enjoy a shot with a beer chaser now and again.


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83 comments
MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

Hey CP - how about a 'moron' button next to the like and reply buttons? When a commenter gets a certain number of 'moron' votes, their comment is automatically deleted. (most comments below would qualify as moronic -especially those by  CinBlueland. )

wawoodee
wawoodee

Instead of making those who are responsible and can handle their liquor pay for those that aren't and can't, how about lowering the drinking age? In every country (Russia being a notable exception) where the drinking age is lower than ours (pretty much all of them), the incidence of alcoholism and drunk driving is far less. It is not rocket science that young people want to do things that are both enjoyable and forbidden. By keeping the drinking age at 21 you make it that much bigger of a deal all the way through the college years. No wonder binge drinking is at epidemic levels among college students! Introducing alcohol as a part of a meal at a younger age would foster a healthier perspective, and make it less exciting and less prone to abuse.

Lisa Clare
Lisa Clare

Why does everyone go for only the churches to pay taxes, what about synagogues, mosques, Hindu temples et al. ??? Secondly, they could NEVER afford it except for maybe the Mormons aka Church of LDS.

Bill Edgington
Bill Edgington

She looks like the lead singer from Tesla in about 30 more years.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

Hi Karen, while you are it lets add a few more taxes: Hiking $10 daily user fee for MN trails, bicycling $37 annual license, and organic apples 2c @. 

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

First the DFL comes for our guns and now they want to raise taxes on beer? Screw the DFL they're a bunch of idiots.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

pretty fucking sick that so many people are commenting on this post as opposed to the countless others. the dumb masses get upset when their liquor or guns are messed with. start worrying about why the top 1% has 40% of the weatlh in this country. The percieved inequality is wildy inaccurate and is actually far worse than you pea brained alcoholics could comprehend

the...drinking...must...continue

Kent Erickson
Kent Erickson

Lisa, I agree with your LRT comments as Denver did do it right , they also have a better bike sharing system than we do, their bike sharing bikes not only look better but they come with U-Locks so you can lock them up. As far as increasing liquor taxes, all this does is hurt the people who are battling alcoholism and are trying to stop but are struggling. All this will do is take more money out of their pocket and won't act as a deterrent as these people would stop but are in the thralls of addiction. The people who drink responsibly won't be hurt. Taking advantage of another persons addiction is not right.

Lisa Clare
Lisa Clare

Yes, absolutely raise the taxes on it and cigarettes too. I really wish they would add another gas tax to pay for a comprehensive light rail system here in MN. Instead of doing it piecemeal we should be implementing the light rail transit the way Denver did 20 yrs ago....ALL AT ONE TIME. The way we are going about it is far more expensive to the tax payers! Denver was incredibly wise and saved billions (with a B ) of dollars to tax payers.

Tim Cheesebrow
Tim Cheesebrow

I don't really think that 4 cent/glass increase on wine or 10 cent/shot increase on liquor is going to break anybody's bank or even prevent them from carrying on as they have. It's really not an amount of money worth getting upset over.

Ross Levine
Ross Levine

After paying over 10% at the Lunds downtown, I thought it already was? I think any higher and it will be highly unreasonable. I agree with others, sell it on Sunday, that law is stupid and outdated anyway.

MotherJones
MotherJones

@MNjoe People commenting on here are "morons" because they are sick to death of MN taxes?  Tax this, tax that. Let's find a new way to tax the taxes that are currently being taxed. If you enjoy paying more and more taxes, you are more than welcome to pay mine.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@wawoodee Because of Federal mandates, it's how the MADD got it raised in every state. Don't raise it to 21 lose federal highway money.

webcelt
webcelt

@Kent Erickson Except it looks like the reasoning is to cover the state's costs of dealing with the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption, so taxing the people doing the drinking seems quite fair. Besides, perhaps it will work out to be like cigarettes, where the tax deters consumption.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@Lisa Clare While were at it, lets raise the cost per ride, in Sweden average fair for the light rail is $5 for a 5km trip if we really want it, quit hiding the cost in another budget.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@Jean Claude Cau Same people who vote for Ellison.. Marginal district defined for a specific voter bloc. Spread their district into the burbs and you might have a better race/candidate.

nope
nope

@Tim Cheesebrow that's why they call it being nickled and dimed. idiot. 

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Tim Cheesebrow you believe everything politicians tell you?

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

Taxes are the price of admission to a civilized society. If you don't agree, you can move to Alabama or the Liberaterian paradise of Somalia. A few cents added to the price of a drink is pretty harmless.

P.S. While there are a few insightful comments on here, most are pretty moronic.

wawoodee
wawoodee

And the MADD website will have you believe that everything I said in my above post is wrong. However, even a strict drinking age of 18 makes drinking and the ability to drink a huge deal for teenagers. In order to make a difference we'd have to eliminate it or make it an "age 18 unless accompanied by an adult". Therefore, any evidence that drunk driving incidence was worse when the drinking age was 18 doesn't surprise me. And I think their claims that Europeans have more problems due to alcohol is baloney. It's clear that MADD has an agenda and is manipulating and spinning the evidence to support their agenda.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@digitalprotocol @CinBlueland Gotta pay for those bike paths, and painted lanes somehow.  Amazing how easy it is to raise taxes on someone else. 

To put another spin on it, think of all the jobs that would be created to enforce / levy these new taxes.

JustSayin
JustSayin

@digitalprotocol Maybe it's not about the alcohol, but about the taxes.  The taxes that are increased on so many things.  A little bit here and a little bit there all adds up. Add this tax hike with the proposed increase in minimum wage and you've got people losing jobs or places doing hiring freezes, because they can't afford the minimum wage and tax increases.  When will we say enough is enough.  Cut the fat in the government and learn to work within a budget like the rest of us.  People need to stop looking at the government to take care of them and to solve all of their problems.  If you're really passionate about something, raise money for your cause and give your time.  

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@webcelt "where the tax deters consumption." This is called social engineering, and it's all fine and good until it's something you want, or participate in. 

Say a $10 fee per participant tax at any protest/rally. Bicycle licenses $37 annually just think of how much money the State could have if we just started taxing everything. 

 

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@CinBlueland @lisa clare  i dont think the light rail thing will ever work. Where does it go again? oh ya the ghetto and the fkn sticks! fkn hicks

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@MotherJones @MNjoe Yeah, you mean like Rush and Faux News have poisoned your mind?  Obama is no where near the vacation time that your buddy GWB took. You act like Obama is the first president to ever take a vacation and/or golf.  You are so detached from reality that you're not worth having an adult discussion with. So in getting ready for St. Pat's Day, Feck Off.

MotherJones
MotherJones

@MNjoe "She's been a fine Rep, for her district for over three decades, I personally have no problem with her salary. I'm sure it's well deserved." Just like Obama's $1 billion dollar golf "vacations". LOL! Keep on drinking the Liberal Kool Aid. However, one day it will poison you.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@MotherJones @MNjoe How do you know how many hours Rep. Clark works? And as she's been a fine Rep, for her district for over three decades, I personally have no problem with her salary. I'm sure it's well deserved.  I pay my taxes and businesses need to pay their fair share as well. They also use the roads, the cops, etc. And if you're paying 50% of your gross income in taxes, you'd better let a professional look at your returns. I also own a small business and know that you don't pay on the gross, you pay on the net.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@CinBlueland @MNjoe Why should I call you that? It's you Repubs bringing up the Hitler thing constantly about Obama. Anyone who calls the other side Hitler or Nazi has proven their stupidity and has already lost the argument.  If you'd read the article, you'd see that she makes a pretty good case as to why this extra money is needed. I go out a couple of times a month to see a band downtown and if I have to pay a nickel extra for a drink "for health intervention, chemical dependency treatment, also law enforcement costs, prison costs..." then so be it. Now paying for that godamned Vikings stadium is another story.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@MNjoe Way to go to the Strawman argument.. You forgot to call me a Nazi Hitler supporter.. 

I personally don't care about a booze tax, but Karen is going after an easily demonized group with a limited return.. Like I said before, easy to raise taxes on someone else.

MotherJones
MotherJones

@MNjoe You are correct in saying that taxes are the price of admission to live in a civilized society, and I have no problem with paying a reasonable amount of taxes, however, when excessive taxation hurts businesses (which this bill will do, and BTW, I do not even drink) we have to ask ourselves, "when is enough, enough"? And let me ask you something. How much do you pay in taxes per year? I pay 50% of my gross income in state and federal taxes, and no, I am not part of the 1%. I own a small business with 2 employees that grosses $200k per year. After payroll, rent, utilities, and TAXES, my net income is $45,000 a year. Did I mention that I work 60 hours a week? And now, even I wanted to, if I went down to the local tavern and ordered a beer, I am expected to pay even more for that beer while Rep. Clark earns $150+ per year and only works about 20 hours a week? Yeah, that's really fucking fair, isn't it?

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@JustSayin too late for that grassroots shit bud. I spend my time making sure i can eat and buy gas. the FED is bloated and almost completely controlled by HUGE private interests. the common man is done. it is over. you will be a farm hand

MotherJones
MotherJones

@CinBlueland The DFL would never tax things like protests, bicycles, etc. because that would offend its' Hippie/Communist/Socialist/Progressive/Anti-American/Anti-Establishment voter base. Just imagine the hippies screaming if Marijuana were legal and the GOP wanted to raise taxes on that!

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