California Assemblyman Jim Beall put forward alcohol tax hike legislation that failed last year. Now he's back with a new approach that would cause taxes on beer, wine and spirits to skyrocket.
The proposal would generate $1.4 billion for California and is supported by the Marin Institute, a long-time anti-alcohol lobbying group.
The Wine Institute says the proposal would "do great harm to one of California's signature industries." The group says the wine industry generates more than 300,000 jobs in the state.
Assemblyman Beall is trying to back door the tax increase by creating a new fee for wholesalers, instead of making it a straight tax. The fee increase requires only a majority of votes in the legislature, while a tax increase in California requires a two-thirds super majority vote.
The new fees to wholesalers would bump the levy paid on beer from 20 cents to $1.27 per gallon; on wine from 20 cents to $2.76 per gallon; and on liquor from $3.30 to $11.83 per gallon.