3-31-15 – Beer Tax? Vermonters Won’t Drink to That!

by Shayne Spence

During the busy days at the State House surrounding the budget debate, it is easy to lose sight of things.  Lost in the shuffle during last week’s long days of floor speeches and amendments was this tweet, sent out by Anthony Iarrapino, lobbyist for Alliance for a Healthier Vermont, a main proponent of the sugar-sweetened beverage tax.


While this proposal was probably more tongue-in-cheek than a serious proposition, it raises some concerns for supporters of the craft beer economy growing rapidly in Vermont.  Since a constant refrain of supporters of the sugar-sweetened beverage tax has been the supposed reduction in consumption of taxed products, it is safe to assume that increased taxation of beer would lead to reduced consumption.  As a loving consumer of Vermont craft beers, this proposal makes me wary.

Ironically, it has been pointed out that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverage could actually have the effect of increasing beer consumption.  In his testimony on March 11, Kevin Dietly, a representative of the beverage industry, suggested that the increased costs of soda would incentivize beverage-seekers to gravitate towards beer instead.  A 24 ounce can of Natural Light is sold in many convenience stores for $1.99.  A 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, with added sugar taxes, would cost up to $2.29 in the same establishments.

Vermonters should beware: Once you open the Pandora’s box of using the tax code to shape other people’s behavior, it can lead to anywhere – including your behavior.

Shayne Spence is the Outreach and Development Coordinator for the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Diane April 1, 2015 at 5:48 pm

So true


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

Latest News

Vermont’s auditor questions the coziness of OneCare and its regulator

July 10, 2020 By David Flemming Government sanctioned monopolies don’t often benefit consumers- but that never stopped our Legislature from attempting the impossible when they gave the responsibility...

Pulling Down Ethan Allen’s Statue

July 9, 2020 By John McClaughry A woman in Barre Town, excited by the epidemic of statue demolishing, is calling for removing the statue of Col. Ethan Allen...

The Siberian “Heat Wave”

July 7, 2020 By John McClaughry A week ago came the startling news that a weather station in Siberia recorded a 100-degree F temperature. One breathless report told...

Racism at Talladega

July 2, 2020 By John McClaughry The news media was overflowing last month with the story that some unknown racist had left a noose hanging in the Talladega...

Roll Call! Senate Passes Revised Global Warming Solutions Act (23-5), 2020

H.688 – AN ACT RELATING TO ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE PASSEDin the State Senateon June 26, 2020, by a vote of23-5 Purpose: The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) mandates...