Legislature could raise Wyoming beer tax - KOTA Territory News

Legislature could raise Wyoming beer tax

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Wyoming has the lowest tax on beer and malt beverages in the country and bar owners and patrons hope it stays that way.

"One of the reasons that we chose to put a brewery in Sheridan is not only the taxation issues, but the favorable climate with regards to legislation in the State of Wyoming," said Black Tooth Brewing Company co-founder Tim Barnes.

Bar owners like Barnes enjoy working in a state that has only a two cents per gallon beer tax and his bar's visitors have noticed the advantages too.

"I can get a 30-pack here for about the price of an 18-pack in Texas," said Cordell Whitebird of Buffalo.

Some groups are calling for a higher beer tax to raise money for substance abuse treatment.

Barnes believes if a substantial increase is proposed, a Wyoming Brewers Association would form to fight it.

"There's been some conversation about dollars per gallon rather than cents per gallon.  Obviously, we would want to combat that in whatever effort was necessary," said Barnes.

The Joint Revenue Interim Committee will address the beer tax and make a recommendation for next year's legislative session.

"It's been a tax that's been the same level since 1935," said Representative Michael Madden (R-Buffalo).

Madden co-chairs the committee and expects a small or no change to the current tax.

"Even if we tripled the tax from two cents a gallon to six cents a gallon, we would still be the lowest taxed state in the nation," said Madden.

That is a change Barnes wouldn't mind at all.

"If it were to go from two cents to six cents, I don't believe it would have an immediate impact on our customers," said Barnes.

The Joint Revenue Interim Committee will meet in Buffalo in September to discuss the beer tax.

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