The Beer Tax is Back (and It's Worse Than Ever)

Every couple years, the beer tax rears its ugly head, and every couple of years sense prevails and it's killed. This year, however, is a whole different ball game:
1. The economy is in free-fall, and targeted taxes will be raised on minority constituencies. Across-the-board tax hikes may not be in the cards, but taxes on beer and cigs are very likely.

2. The GOP can't stop Dems from raising taxes.
I railed against this in the last session (see here for a general discussion, here for a philosophical discussion, and here for a rant against Steve Duin), so I'll skip that for now. I mainly want to alert you to the salient points that distinguish the horribleness of this year's harebrained scheme from last sessions (comparatively elegant and well-reasoned scheme).
  1. This iteration does not have an exemption for barrelage. Last session's exempted breweries that sold less than a certain number of barrels in Oregon (125k jumps to mind), but this tax would apply to every single barrel of beer sold in Oregon.
  2. The tax would represent a 1900% increase, the largest in American history, raising the excise tax on a barrel of beer to $52.21. The national average is $7.87.
In a nutshell, it would wipe out the Oregon microbrewing industry. Oregon Brewers Guild head Brian Butenschoen is on the case, so I'm sure we'll have more to discuss. Feel free to panic.

[Update. The text of the bill is here.]