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Washington Lawmakers Eye Tax on Mass-Market Beers

Tax increase would add roughly 28 cents per six-pack of 'mass market' beer but would exempt microbrews.
April 8, 2010

OLYMPIA, WA - In an effort to help plug a widening state budget deficit, Washington lawmakers are proposing a new tax on mass-market beer, the Associated Press reports.

The tax would add roughly 28 cents in tax per six-pack of beer but would exempt microbrews. It is one of Washington's first new revenue-raising ideas to emerge in recent weeks.

"There are no real good choices when you're raising taxes," said Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Ed Murray. "Our concern was that it was not just placed all on business, but it was somewhat spread throughout the state."

"It's a pretty big increase in the beer tax," conceded Washington House Finance chair Ross Hunter. "I haven't yet put it in place of where we'd be in comparison to other states. There are still states that we'd be lower than. There are obviously many states that we'd be higher than. We need to look at where those states are."

Hunter said tax proposals will continue to come forth as lawmakers search for ways to generate state revenue. He also expected to receive consideration are taxes on candy, gum, and bottled water.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said she would consider such taxes, noting that they target discretionary purchases.