AMERICANS could pay extra for alcoholic beverages in one state.
The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission enacted an additional fee of 50 cents per bottle of hard liquor in 2009.
But if a new budget proposal from Gov. Tina Kotek goes through, that fee will increase to $1.
All taxes collected go to the Oregon General Fund and Behavioral Health and Addiction Services.
It is projected to raise $90 million over the next two years when the surcharge takes effect.
Since Kotek proposed the tax increase, Kotek has faced fierce opposition from distillers who fear the impact on their business.
“We’re getting hit everywhere,” said David Ballew, president and chief executive officer of Hood River Distillers, according to local publication KLCC.
“Historically high ingredients, supply chain issues, staff shortages, pandemic recovery, inflation. And now we are threatened with an additional fifty cents per bottle.”
Owners say the state would likely see many distilleries shut down entirely if the additional costs were approved, ultimately hurting Oregon’s economy.
“The addition of this new surcharge would put Oregon distillers at a greater competitive disadvantage, which could result in lower sales, lower shelf placement and increased distillery closures,” Ballew said.
Proponents of the supplement say it will reduce underage drinking and binge drinking.
“Don’t look at it from a revenue perspective, look at it from a prevention and public health perspective,” said Mike Marshall, chief executive officer of Oregon Recovers, as reported by KLCC.
“Moderate drinkers are not price sensitive. The people who are most price sensitive are underage drinkers and heavy drinkers, binge drinkers.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Oregon ranked fifth nationally for alcohol addiction among adolescents and adults in 2021.
The state has two more sessions in May and June before formally voting on the proposal.
“We have to go through this public process to raise the price of liquor,” Bryant Haley, a spokesman for the commission, told The Oregon Capital Chronicle. “We expect industry and consumers to have cost concerns about this change.”
The proposal follows a failed attempt by the Oregon Recovers nonprofit to pass House Bill 3312, which aimed to increase excise taxes on beer and wine.
The House Committee on Behavioral Health and Health Care vetoed the proposal without a public hearing last month.
OTHER ADDITIONAL CHARGES
The move comes as national retailers added automatic fees for a range of services across the country.
At Walmart, buyers must expect an additional fee from the WalmartPetRx.com AutoShip & Save program.
Even if you add a coupon to your order, the regular price at the time of order applies to all AutoShip orders.
To avoid the fee, customers must go into their account and turn off the auto-delivery service for that month to redeem their discounts.
The retail giant has also been charging shoppers more in states that ban single-use plastic bags.
The plastic ban applies in California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, Colorado, New York, Washington and Oregon.
So if you walk into the store without your own reusable bag, you’ll be charged an extra eight cents for each Walmart bag.
Depending on your shop membership, additional delivery fees will also apply.
Here is the full list of surcharges that apply in stores.