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Beer drinkers, patriots

If you had a beer over the weekend, pat yourself on the back. You helped out the state economy.

A recent press release  says beer has nearly a $3 billion impact on Washington's economy, supports 33,000 jobs and generates nearly $230 million in federal, state and local taxes.

And the people sending the press release would know this because? They're the National Beer Wholesalers Association, and they get their facts from the Beer Institute.

The wholesalers note that beer directly employs more than 20,000 people as brewers, distributors, sales clerks, bartenders and ballpark venders. Not sure if the remainders, which would include substance abuse counselors and law enforcement personnel assigned to drunk driving patrols.

They can break it down for Idaho and other states, and can even give figures for each congressional district at a Web site.

So why does the Beer Institute want us to know all this?

“These numbers demonstrate that our industry is essential to several sectors of the U.S. economy, particularly as the nation struggles to regain its footing in this uncertain climate,” said Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute. “For this reason, it is important that state and federal officials consider equitable tax policies that do not unduly harm an industry that provides so many domestic jobs and so much economic growth.”

So apparently they feel that they've done their share of generating taxes for right now, and are prepared for any attempt to raise those taxes.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.