Do you feel you pay enough for your beer, well if you do be aware that your cost could go up?  Michigan state House Bill 5873 is looking to increase the tax you pay for that beer by 244%.  That bill was proposed by a republican.

State Rep. Tom Hooker, Republican from Byron Center has submitted that House bill which will increase the tax you pay for your can of beer by 6.5 cents per 12 ounce.  The current tax per barrel of beer is $6.30 or approximately 1.9 cents per 12 ounce, his current bill would increase the per barrel tax to $21.70.

That is approximately a 244% increase, was Rep. Hooker elected as a republican or democrat, I am confused now.

He would like to see the extra tax raised from this increase to fund treatment courts and police departments.  State Rep. Hooker believes that alcohol consumption has come at a high societal cost.  This sounds like the argument for suing the tobacco industry.

Remember what the Attorney Generals did to the tobacco industry and the money they won form that suit?  The states sued the tobacco industry claiming their product came at a high societal cost via medical expenses and the money they would be awarded would be used to offset those cost.  In fact the states argued that cigarettes contributed to health problems that triggered significant costs for public health systems.

What did they spend that settlement money on, pretty much everything other than smoking related issues.

I found an article by the government run NPR titled 15 Years Later, Where Did All The Cigarette Money Go? which stated:

To help guide state governments, in 2007 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that states reinvest 14 percent of the money from the settlement and tobacco taxes in anti-smoking programs. But most state governments have decided to prioritize other things: Colorado has spent tens of millions of its share to support a literacy program, while Kentucky has invested half of its money in agricultural programs.


"What states have actually done has fluctuated year by year ... but it's never come close to 14 percent," Levin says. "There are some fairly notorious cases of money being used for fixing potholes, for tax relief [and] for financial assistance for tobacco farmers."

The states could not even hold to a very small percentage of 14% on smoking related issues.  How can they claim that smoking imposed "societal cost" to governments then spend very little to none of the monetary award on programs to help offset those "societal cost:"?

Now back to the beer causing a high societal cost issue.  I am not saying that smoking or beer does not cause a high societal cost, but I am telling you that the past has proven that these monetary awards and outrageously high taxes are just a money grab to fund other “governmental” programs.

Opponents of this proposed bill believe it will be bad for the beer industry in Michigan.  Maybe it would and maybe it would not but it will be bad for the lower income brackets to pay these high taxes.  Plain and simple this is a regressive tax, this would have a minimal effect on people who make more money and a greater effect on people who make less money.

Society may believe that smoking and drinking is bad for you, but people will never want to stop drinking.  It may be their one vice that they enjoy and helps them get through the other pains and stress of life and what politicians do to them.

Let the people drink beer and stop trying to change society by taxing what you do not like or what you see as an easy money grab that would never end.

The bill was introduced on Tuesday and was referred to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform.

Let’s talk about this today on The Live with Renk Show which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon. To let me know your thoughts during the show please call (269) 441-9595.