New Bipartisan Cause: Cheaper Tequila

House bill slashes federal tax on whiskey, rum, too
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2015 2:49 AM CDT
Updated May 31, 2015 7:08 AM CDT
New Bipartisan Cause: Cheaper Booze
Shrink-wrapped bottles of bourbon ready to be labeled are seen at Copper Fiddle Distillery in Lake Zurich, Ill.    (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Bob Chwedyk)

Raising a glass of whiskey, rum, or tequila to the spirit of bipartisan cooperation could become cheaper under a bill introduced to the House Tuesday. The Distillery Innovation and Excise Tax Reform Act, co-sponsored by Indiana Republican Todd Young and Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth, would dramatically cut federal taxes on distilled spirits, the Hill reports. The federal tax—just one of the taxes and fees that make up more than half the price of an average bottle of spirits—now stands at $13.50 per proof gallon, and the bill would give small distillers a boost by slashing the tax to $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 10,000 gallons produced. Every gallon after that would be taxed at $9 per proof gallon.

"All around southern Indiana, many new craft distilleries are popping up, creating jobs and adding to the tax base," Young said in a press release. "But there's a lot of red tape involved in getting a new distillery off the ground and this bill helps reduce that burden." But the price of booze won't dive that much if the bill passes: The feds tax spirits a lot more heavily than beer or wine, but the federal tax still only accounts for 15% of the cost of the average bottle of spirits, reports the Washington Post, which notes that state taxes vary from $35.22 per proof gallon in Washington to nothing at all in New Hampshire and Wyoming. (In other drinking news, a new study points to the number of drinks "beyond the safe level.")

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