A California beer tax? D’oh! | SierraSun.com

A California beer tax? D’oh!

Jamie Bate

Beer. Bier. Bierra. Cerveza. No matter how you say it the cost of a cold one is rising like a frothy head on a pint.

Like bread, eggs and just about everything else, the cost of beer has spiked because of worldwide demand for grains, including wheat, corn and rice. Seems the cost of hops and barley is now 40 percent more than a year ago, which is hitting micro-brewers hard.

That’s because unlike mass-produced beers, craft brewers don’t make huge advance purchases of barley and hops. But experts say that the big brewers will start to be hit as well.

And that may not be the end of it if one California lawmaker has his way. In highlighting a proposed tax by Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose, the Los Angeles Daily News tapped a world-renown beer expert.

“Beer,” Homer Simpson once ruminated, “now there’s a temporary solution.”

The wisdom of Homer Simpson, it seems, has found its way up to Sacramento with Beall’s bill, which proposes raising the tax on beer from two cents per can or bottle to 30 cents to help the Golden State’s budget crunch.

“As even Homer Simpson can calculate, that would amount to $1.80 a six-pack,” the Daily News concluded.

Beer’s impact on the nation, heck, even the world, however, is incalculable. Take Sen. John McCain, possibly the next Leader of the Free World. You can bet a hefty beer tax would get a prompt veto if McCain was in the Oval Office. Even though a prenuptial agreement is in place, McCain’s wife is an heiress to a Phoenix-based beer distributing company. Her worth is estimated at more than $100 million; wouldn’t want to threaten that.

But who knows, California legislators could split on a beer tax vote, like the folks in Tisbury, Massachusetts. A ballot question on whether to allow sales of alcohol at restaurants and inns in the Martha’s Vineyard community tied 690-690 in Tuesday’s election.

If it’s a tie, the place stays dry. So those favoring the change have already launched an effort to get a hand recount.

So might California beer lovers if Beall has his way, which, by the way, is unlike, experts say. Such a tax would require two-thirds legislative approval and a public vote.

Beall just might be quoting Homer when his bill goes to vote: “D’oh!”