In many ways, beer is to Oregon what wine is to California or whiskey is to Kentucky. For that reason, it's amazing to consider that the Oregon Legislature just might boost the tax on beer by more than 1,800 percent.
Lawmakers are now discussing a jump in the excise tax from $2.60 a barrel to $49.61 a barrel. That would add an extra 20 cents a pint to each and every glass of beer produced by Oregon brewers.
Oregon officials say the money would go to fund alcohol and drug treatment programs. The politicians are also responding to polls that show voters are against raising the sales tax.
Currently, Oregon's excise tax on beer -- about a penny a pint -- is one of the lowest in the U.S. Brewers in the state say this has helped build the industry and create jobs. The huge jump in the tax could potentially damage sales and would hinder brewery start ups.