House DFLers propose 7-cent tax increase on beer pints, 84-cent hike on 12ers

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If House DFLers have their way, trips to the liquor store and bars will soon become more expensive.
Today, House DFLers unveiled their proposed tax bill, and it's bad news for those of you who like to drink.

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House DFLers are proposing the first increase in the state's liquor tax in years. It'd add roughly seven cents to the cost of a pint, 84 cents on a 12er, 47 cents on a bottle of wine, and $1.58 on bottles of liquor.

That 7-cent per-pint beer tax increase is almost twice as much as the 4-cent per pint increase floated by Rep. Karen Clark, D-Minneapolis, early last month. For those whose beer habit averages out to a pint per day at bars, the House's tax proposal would make life $25 more expensive annually.

Last month, Clark justified increasing the state's liquor tax by pointing out a Minnesota Department of Health study from 2011 that found costs to the state associated with alcohol abuse are about 17 times greater than the money brought in from liquor taxes. During a news conference today, House Speaker Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis, provided a similar rationale.

According to an MPR report from last month, Gov. Dayton isn't thrilled with the idea of increasing the state's liquor tax but has indicated he might be amenable to an increase.

The House's budget proposal, which also includes a $2.83-per-pack cigarette tax increase and a tax increase on high-income earners, would bring in $2.5 billion in new revenue. The AP reports that "Including a temporary surcharge on top earners, Minnesota would carry the nation's third highest tax rate" if the House's proposal were to become law.

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