And Another Thing

I recognize that there's a thing as posting too often on the beer tax. It's boring. I know. But I am provoked by a recent Portland Business Journal article, and some of the contents therein. In general, it is a very nice recap of the issue, no comment needed from me. But there is a bit there in the middle that fairly hollers for a rebuttal, and to this bellow I oblige. The notable passage:
Backers say the extra money would help defray the $5 billion in health care, law enforcement and social services that untreated substance abuse costs the state each year. Based on current beer-barrel sales, the taxes would generate around $250 million per biennium, compared to the estimated $7 million the tax will generate during the 2007-09 biennium. (emphasis mine.)E
Now hold on a damn second. Five billion a year? Someone's been doing more than drinking some bad barleywine. Governor Kulongoski set a $15.8 billion budget for the next biennium (two years). That's just a shade under eight billion a year. Over half the budget is devoted to schools, which leaves $3.63 billion for everything else. There may be some hare-brained calculation somewhere that adds up to a total expense of $5 billion a year in total costs, but it damn sure isn't the state's cost. And, not to put too fine a point on it, but the cost, whatever it is, damn sure isn't all the fault of beer makers. Yet this half-assed, half-considered, hysterical piece of legislation lays the tax solely at their feet.

It is this kind of blatant exaggeration that makes reasonable people want to go on jihad. There doesn't seem to be anything approaching good faith with the current proposal. A graphic in that story shows what the per-barrel taxes of neighboring states will be if HB 2461 passes, and I'll leave it as a final example of how unreasonable the bill is. Happy Sunday!
Idaho - $4.65
Nevada - $4.96
California - $6.20
Washington $8.08
Oregon - $49.61