Opponents of a bill that would increase New Hampshire’s beer tax told lawmakers Wednesday that the move would harm an industry vital to the state’s economy.
New Hampshire-based beer manufacturers and industry advocates urged members of the House Ways and Means committee to reject the proposal. The bill would increase the tax on a gallon of beer at the wholesale level from 30 cents to 40 cents.
Scott Schaier, executive director of the Beer Distributors of New Hampshire, provided the committee with written testimony of 20 businesses and associations opposed to the legislation.
“The macroeconomic effects of this bill are far greater than 10 cents a gallon. The market is extremely competitive with our neighboring states and our economy does benefit greatly in terms of jobs, support for people, and tax revenues.”
John Thompson of Smuttynose Brewery joined other beer manufacturers and industry advocates in urging members of the committee to reject the bill.
"These breweries are popping up in communities around the state, it's not just the Seacoast. Encouraging their growth gives the state a chance to market itself outside the state.
Bill sponsor Chuck Weed, a Keene Democrat, says he’s not trying to single out beer drinkers, but says the state has a responsibility to pay for prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse.
Weed points out the beer tax hasn’t been increased permanently in 30 years. The additional revenue – an estimated $4 million – would help fund those programs.
Governor Maggie Hassan has said she will veto the bill, should it reach her desk.