(The Center Square) – Craft beer often brings to mind small shops and a few people brewing up a unique blend to share with family, friends and maybe a few others. But, in Ohio, it’s big business.
It’s so big, in fact, more than 15,000 people work in the $3 billion industry in the Buckeye State, and Ohio ranks fourth in the nation in craft beer production. With that in mind, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is pushing for an industry modernization and tax reform bill.
Portman, along with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, led a bipartisan letter with 55 other U.S. senators that urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, to bring up the legislation before the end of the year.
“It is imperative that the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act be included in the next appropriate legislative package and acted upon before the end of the year,” the letter said. “As businesses struggle to retain workers and stay open, allowing the current rates to lapse would force many businesses across the country to lay off workers or close their doors permanently.”
Portman said the act is supported by 77 of the 100 senators and 351 members of the House of Representatives.
“With the economic duress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, producers’ businesses have been devastated which would be compounded by an increase in their federal excise taxes,” the letter said. “These losses ripple throughout the supple chain, affecting farmers, agriculture producers, manufacturers, truck drivers, warehouse workers and countless others.”
It’s Portman’s second effort aimed at the industry in the last three years. In 2018, he co-sponsored and helped champion a tax reform law that led to more industry investment in plants and equipment, pay raises, bonuses and higher 401(k) matches.
— J.D. Davidson, The Center Square