For several years the brewing industry has been seeking a rollback of the beer taxes of 1991. Until now I was dubious that they would be successful during the Trump administration. The heinous tax bill that the Senate passed last week appears to have achieved the industry’s goal. The Senate put the tenets of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act into the pending tax legislation.
Senator Roy Blount, (R., Missouri) is the sponsor of the beer legislation and his son is a lobbyist for Miller Coors. Cindy McCain’s family owns Hensley Beverage which is a major beer distributor located in Arizona. The National Beer Wholesalers Association, a trade lobby, supports the tax cuts. The McCain family involvement in the beer industry probably explains John McCain’s decision to support the tax legislation despite the complete lack of a process during the writing of the bill. No hearings were held and most Senators voted without reading the legislation.
The craft beer industry markets itself as David fighting the golaiths of Anheuser Busch and Miller Coors. They claim to be providing authentic flavors and products to deserving customers. Their full-throat-ed support of the Senate tax bill would seem to contradict this image. The bill eliminates deductions for student loans, state property taxes, the ACA individual mandate and in general screws anybody who is not in the one percent.
The bill will generate a huge deficit which will enable Republicans, once it is passed, to seek cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The Brewers Association posted the following disclaimer: “Please keep in mind that the BA and its members have had no input on the larger political issues in play on the tax reform bill.” This rings hollow. Craft brewers should be ashamed of themselves for supporting such terrible legislation.