At Thursday's legislative forum in Sheridan, Black Tooth Brewing Company co-owner Tim Barnes questioned why Wyoming legislators are considering an increase in beer taxes, and said that will hurt the state's micro-brewery business. The state currently taxes beer brewed here at 2 cents a gallon, but legislators when they convene next month will consider an increase of as much as 28 or 30 cents per gallon.
Barnes said Wyoming's breweries are growing rapidly, but the proposed tax increase will have an adverse impact on them. Responding to his question of why legislators are considering the increase now, Rep. Rosie Berger of Big Horn said there have been discussions in the legislature for the past 50 years. She said state lawmakers are all looking for ways to generate more revenues. Rep. Mike Madden, a member of the House finance committee, said the committee itself is divided on the issue. He said about one-third of the members want to raise the tax, one-third want to repeal it, and one-third want to leave the tax as is.
Sen. Bruce Burns asked why beer shouldn't be taxed the same as other things produced and sold in the state. Barnes said brewing companies already pay state and local sales taxes on their products and pay federal taxes of $8 per barrel.