Eugene bartenders question 3000% tax hike proposal on beer in Oregon

Oregon lawmakers are trying to pass House Bill 3296, a legislation that would increase the tax on beer by nearly 3000% and on wine 2000%.

Posted: Feb 28, 2021 3:43 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2021 5:13 PM

EUGENE, Ore.-- Bartenders in Eugene are puzzled at House Bill 3296, a legislation that would increase tax on beer by nearly 3000% and on wine by almost 2000%. 

"That's the most pointless thing I ever heard," Trev's Sports Bar host Dustin Cordeiro said. "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 levy some kind of tax upon us," Clark said.

But proponents of the new bill said this would help create a fund to create an addiction recovery district and help to curb underage and binge drinking.

"Take that revenue that it generates and for the folks that are suffering from addiction, putting it into the funding of this strategic plan that we've spent the last three years developing and fully funding it so that we can increase the recovery rates," Oregon Recovers executive director Mike Marshall said. 

Marshall said Oregon has the third highest rate in alcohol addiction and the least access to treatments.

But local bartenders believe that this new tax wouldn't solve problems related to alcohol consumption, like addiction or DUI.

"People are going to start moonshining, brewing on their own, brewing illegally. So I think it's going to push people in the wrong direction," Cordiero said.

"Alcoholism is a problem. I think it's something we need to take care of," Bailey's Cafe bartender Micah Bosket said. "But some people just want to go out and have a drink with their friends. From where I stand right now, we have a lot of other problems we really need to take care of right now."

Currently, the tax on a barrel of beer is $2.60. The bill would increase it to $72.60. For wine, the tax would go from $.65 to $10.65 a barrel.

If the bill passes, the changes would go into effect on January 1st, 2022.

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