Portman Op-Ed in The Hill: Let's Continue Supporting our American Craft Brewers

November 25, 2020 | Portman Difference

Today, in an op-ed for The Hill, Senator Portman discussed the importance of supporting America’s craft beverage industry, especially since brew pubs and other craft beverage retail operations have been hit hard by the COVID-19 economic shutdown. In the op-ed, Portman urges his colleagues to extend for one year his bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Act, which was included in the final FY 2020 funding bill 

The bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Actlegislation cosponsored and championed by Portman, and included in the 2017 tax reform law as amendment offered by Portman, provides excise tax relief to the growing craft beverage industry, helping these entrepreneurs reinvest more in their businesses and our communities. Ohio is number six in the country in craft beer production and supports 81,000 jobs in the state.  This is just one of the many important tax provisions that Congress must work to extend before the end of the year. 

Excerpts of the op-ed can be found below and the full op-ed can be found here.  

Let's Continue Supporting our American Craft Brewers

By U.S. Senator Rob Portman

The Hill

November 25, 2020 

For the past decade, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy has been the craft beverage industry. Across the country, in cities and small towns alike, American entrepreneurs have set up successful small businesses producing small-batch beer, wine, and spirits. A few decades ago, the craft beverage industry was in its infancy. By 2018, the craft beverage industry supported more than 5.4 million jobs across the country, and generated more than $562 billion in economic activity nationwide. I’ve seen this firsthand in my home state of Ohio, which now hosts the sixth-largest craft beer industry in the country with more than 350 brewery operations, and 81,000 good-paying jobs. 

We want the craft beverage industry to continue to grow and thrive. That’s why I was I was proud to include legislation called the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act as part of Congress’s 2017 tax reforms. This bipartisan tax proposal provided needed excise tax relief on production of craft beverage for two years, allowing producers to invest in workers and equipment. 

 

As we approach the end of 2020, the benefits of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act are once again set to expire, meaning that craft breweries, vintners, and distillers could face up to a 500 percent excise tax increase on Jan. 1. Because excise taxes are paid quarterly and cannot be changed retroactively, unlike income tax, it would be unfair to producers to have significant taxes due right after the beginning of the new year. This could not come at a worse time for brew pubs and other craft beverage retail operations that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 economic shutdown. 

 

Now is the time for Congress to work on a bipartisan basis to help keep this entrepreneurial industry afloat as they work to recover from this crisis. While the Trump administration delayed the collection of excise taxes by a few months in the early days of this pandemic, we need a legislative solution to make these tax incentives permanent so that the craft beverage industry has the certainty it needs and can focus on keeping the doors open and their employees on payroll, rather than paying substantially higher taxes during an economic crisis. 

Fortunately, we have bipartisan legislation that would continue the excise tax relief, and the majority of senators have co-sponsored it. I am leading a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership urging them to include it in the next urgent coronavirus response package so we can quickly pass this critical, widely-supported legislation. The craft beverage industry, which for years has defined small business success in Ohio and across the country, should not be unfairly punished with tax increases as they work to navigate the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This is just one of the many important tax provisions that Congress must work to extend before the end of the year. We need to ensure that the tax reforms that helped our economy grow to be the strongest in the world do not expire as we work to get back on track. I’m hopeful Congress will act quickly to make this important craft beverage tax relief permanent so that Ohio’s craft beverage industry has the resources it needs to stay on its feet and respond to the greatest health crisis of our time.

 

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