Ron co-sponsors bill to reform taxes, regulations on beer

The Cap Times
By: Laurel White 
October 16, 2015

Wisconsin senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson don’t agree on much, but apparently beer is a unifying force.

Sen. Johnson, a Republican, announced his co-sponsorship of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act on Tuesday. Baldwin, a Democrat, had signed on as an original co-sponsor of the bill in July. As of Johnson’s declaration, Wisconsin is one of just three states, including Colorado and New Hampshire, with Senate co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle.

“As we start reforming our tax system, we need to find areas of agreement. This bill is one of them, as its bipartisan support shows,” Johnson said in a prepared statement.

The bill would implement a variety of fairly wonky beer and alcohol-related regulations, including modernizing the tax code, simplifying label requirements, expanding a wine producer tax credit and reducing excise taxes for breweries and distilleries.

“I welcome Senator Johnson’s support for this bipartisan effort to provide tax relief to Wisconsin businesses,” Baldwin said in a prepared statement.

Johnson said he supports the bill in part because it “will provide relief to Wisconsin’s smaller craft brewers and to its larger global brewers, not limiting the relief to just one segment of the industry.”

During Congress’ 2013-2014 session, a similar bill received oppositionbecause it only cut taxes on craft breweries, not large macrobreweries.

The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act has also received official support from the Wisconsin Brewers Guild, Brewer’s Association, The Beer Institute, U.S. Association of Cider Makers and the American Craft Spirits Association.

The bill, like its companion bill in the House of Representatives, is currently in committee.