EUGENE, Oregon – Eugene bartenders are baffled by House Bill 3296, legislation that would increase taxes on beer by nearly 3,000% and on wine by nearly 2,000%.
“That’s the most useless thing I’ve ever heard,” said Trev’s Sports Bar host Dustin Cordeiro. “We should have the right to go out and have a beer and not be charged an outrageous amount.”
Side Bar bartender Kyle Clark agrees.
“This is the wrong time to impose some kind of tax on us,” Clark said.
But proponents of the new bill said this would help create a fund to create an addiction recovery district and help curb underage binge drinking.
“Take that revenue you generate and for people suffering from addiction, putting it into funding this strategic plan that we have spent the last three years developing and fully funding so that we can increase recovery rates,” said Oregon CEO. Recovers, Mike Marshall.
Marshall said Oregon has the third highest rate of alcohol addiction and the least access to treatment.
But local bartenders believe that this new tax would not solve problems related to alcohol use, such as addiction or DUI.
“People are going to start making illegal alcohol, brewing on their own, brewing illegally. So I think it’s going to lead people in the wrong direction,” Cordiero said.
“Alcoholism is a problem. I think it’s something we need to address,” said Bailey’s Cafe bartender Micah Bosket. “But some people just want to go out and have a drink with their friends. From my point of view now, we have a lot of other problems that we really need to deal with now.”
Currently, the tax on a keg of beer is $ 2.60. The bill would increase it to $ 72.60. For wine, the tax would go from $ 0.65 to $ 10.65 a barrel.
If the bill passes, the changes would take effect on January 1, 2022.