Lawmakers consider beer tax increase

Posted at 7:39 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 09:50:35-04

 Picking up a 12 pack of beer could soon cost a little more. Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill that would more than double the state's beer tax.

State Rep. Tom Hooker (R-Byron Center) is behind the bill, which would add up to $.07 to the price of a standard 12-ounce beer. That would make Michigan's tax the 5th highest compared to other states.

Hooker says the increase is long overdue since the state hasn't changed the beer tax in more than 50 years.

"You recognize it's not going to be an easy battle," Hooker said.

Money from the tax goes to the state's general fund and with the increase Hooker wants to earmark part of that for substance abuse courts, making it so people who drink more foot the bill.

"Everybody pays and why should a person who doesn't drink like myself have to pay for the costs of car accidents and recovery and abuse programs," Hooker said.

The tax hike might not seem like much but it's a nearly 250 percent increase from the current tax.

Rich McCarius, who owns Tom's Party Store in East Lansing calls the tax hike deceiving, especially since the cost adds up over time.

"They're trying to make you think that it's not that much but it is," McCarius said. During football season, especially tailgates, there's more bulk purchases so it's bigger packages."

Michigan's beer tax is the highest in the Great Lakes region so the state Chamber of Commerce, which opposes the bill, says it could drive people to buy their beer in neighboring states where it's cheaper.