DISCUS

BUNNING INTRODUCES FEDERAL SPIRITS TAX ROLLBACK BILL -- Cites Huge Benefit to Kentucky Bourbon Industry

July 24, 2003 08:00 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) today introduced legislation to rollback the federal excise tax (FET) on distilled spirits, one of the nation’s highest taxed consumer products, citing the benefit to Kentucky’s Bourbon industry and the state’s economy. Under the bill, the Federal Excise Tax on distilled spirits would be reduced from $13.50 to $10.50 per proof gallon, a 22 percent reduction that returns the tax to the same level that applied prior to FET increases in 1991 and 1985. “Kentucky’s distilling industry is an economic engine for my state, accounting for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity,” Bunning said, “and the heritage and culture of Bourbon in Kentucky date back to George Washington.” Currently, federal, state and local taxes and fees make up 53 percent of the cost of the bottle of spirits. The FET portion alone represents 19 percent. “The FET on spirits has grown so high that it is has reached the point of diminishing returns,” pointed out Bunning, a member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. According to a recent report on spirits excise taxes published by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the last FET increase on spirits in 1991, resulted in a reduction in tax revenue of approximately $13 million. Kentucky Distillers Applaud Bunning’s Effort “I commend Senator Bunning as a true champion of Kentucky’s distilling industry,” said Bill Samuels, president of Maker’s Mark and a seventh generation Kentucky distiller, “The taxes levied on this industry have been way too high for way too long.” James Bareuther, newly appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer of Brown-Forman Beverages and chairman of the Distilled Spirits Council, said, “Our industry is committed to responsibility and moderation, and the taxes on our products should be fair and reasonable. Alcohol is alcohol, but spirits are taxed at three times the rate of wine and double the rate of beer. That is simply unfair.” CONTACT: Mike Reynard (mike_reynard@bunning.senate.gov) Telephone: 202-224-1156 or 202-302-3716 SCROLLER Publication Name: Publication Author:
 

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