Arrow-right Camera

Eye On Boise

Mon., Feb. 23, 2009, 9:50 a.m.

‘Hitting retirees kinda hard’

George Dillard of the Idaho Good Sams testifies against legislation to raise Idaho's beer tax, saying,
George Dillard of the Idaho Good Sams testifies against legislation to raise Idaho's beer tax, saying, "You're hitting the retired community kinda hard." (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Here's a sampling of some of the testimony this morning on the proposed hike in beer and wine taxes to fund substance abuse treatment. Of the 24 people who testified, 14 were in favor, nine against, and one neutral. Rev & Tax Chairman Dennis Lake said there are 34 more to go; beer and wine lobbyist Bill Roden will be up first when the hearing continues tomorrow. And now for the sampling:

Vaughn Killeen, former Ada County sheriff and executive director of the Idaho Sheriffs Association: "We have to remember the tax has not been increased since its inception."
George Dillard, Idaho State Good Sams: "You're hitting the retired community kinda hard."
Roger Batt, Idaho Wine and Grape Growers: "This targeted increase is offensive to this segment of Idaho agriculture. ... This is not the economic climate in which Idaho should be generating revenue for pet projects when everyone else is being asked to tighten the belt."
Melanie Krause, owner and wine maker, Cinder: "This bill is going to make it very difficult for us to continue to exist."
Moya Shatz, executive director, Idaho Grape Growers: "Raising the wine tax by 246 percent would cripple the budding wine industry here in Idaho."
Mike Clark, Cambridge resident: "With the economy headed for the toilet, nobody wants to see a tax increase but I think this is a good one."
Sherry Parks, director of behavioral Health, St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center: "Last year we treated close to 1,500 patients through the emergency room for substance abuse. ... We spend over a million dollars on this population. ... It's a huge impact and it's a very costly way to spend our taxpayers dollars and our health care dollars. ... We feel like much more can be done earlier in the process to eliminate some of the high-cost treatments that we're seeing in our facility."
Mike Fitzgerald, former owner, TableRock Brewpub: "Most of the restaurants owned by us little guys are just shutting the doors."
Janelle DeWeerd, freshman at Meridian High School: "Why not have the people that choose to drink pay for the cost of that choice?"
Hawk Stone, a Common Interest member who opposed the switch to a tax by price rather than volume: "It's too expensive to get drunk on a $5 pint of beer."
Bill Brockman, former Twin Falls county commissioner: "When the economy is good, people drink more to celebrate. During a recession, people drink more because they are depressed. ... This fee is not mandatory - if you do not consume alcohol, it costs you absolutely nothing."

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Eye On Boise
Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.