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DFL Rep. Karen Clark wants to raise taxes on barrels of beer from $4.60 to $16.17

Clark's proposal would almost certainly increase the cost of tippin' one back, which got us thinking: Isn't there some sort of tax loophole we could close instead?
Clark's proposal would almost certainly increase the cost of tippin' one back, which got us thinking: Isn't there some sort of tax loophole we could close instead?
Image by Tatiana Craine

Rep. Karen Clark, D-Minneapolis, is one half of the tandem leading the push for marriage equality. She's also leading the push to increase taxes on beer, wine, and liquor.

SEE ALSO: Sunday liquor sales seem to be dead on arrival yet again

Yesterday, Clark's proposal to increase taxes on 31-gallon barrels of beer from $4.60 to $16.17 got a hearing with the House Taxes Committee. No vote was taken, but the communications director for the DFL House caucus says Clark's proposal could still be included in this year's omnibus liquor bill.

If Clark's proposed tax increase were approved and passed on to consumers, it'd round up to roughly four cents per pint. The increased tax on wine amounts to four cents per glass, and the tax hike on liquor to 10 cents per shot.

Clark argues the tax increase is needed because costs to the state associated with alcohol abuse are about 17 times greater than the money brought in from liquor taxes, according to a Minnesota Department of Health report published in April 2011.

During an appearance on MPR, Clark pointed out that the state pays for "everything from needs for health intervention, chemical dependency treatment, also law enforcement costs, prison costs... We really need to figure out ways to deal with the cost of alcohol overuse."

According to an MPR report, "Gov. Mark Dayton doesn't currently support the tax, but recently signaled that he may be open to it."

We suppose Clark's logic makes sense, but it'd still suck for those of us who are on a budget and like to go out and responsibly enjoy a shot with a beer chaser now and again.


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