Inslee Proposes Extending Beer Tax to Microbreweries - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Inslee Proposes Extending Beer Tax to Microbreweries

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Governor Jay Inslee's budget proposal includes a change to the state beer tax to pay for increased school funding.

The business of beer is a tough one in Washington because of high tax rates and microbreweries and beer sellers could take a big hit if Inslee's proposal passes.

Inslee wants to make the 50 cents a gallon beer tax, that's due to expire next summer, a permanent tax.

He also wants to extend it to microbreweries that are now exempt from the tax.

Washingon's tax rate is $23.58 a barrel. In Oregon, it's only $2.60 a barrel.

Small businesses selling beer are worried if the microbreweries can stay afloat.

"It's making it that much harder to compete with corporate giants and it's making it that much more difficult for a consumer to choose a Washington beer over a beer from any other state or a corporate beer because it's going to increase the cost," said Tim Vertz, Mid Columbia Wine and Spirits.

Mid Columbia Wine and Spirits has a whole wall of Washington brewed beers available.

Vertz thinks the tax will hurt small businesses and said lawmakers should make cuts in the budget, not increase taxes on a business that's already facing high tax rates.

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