Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Politics

PolitiFact: Claim that Oregon has nation's lowest beer tax is false

The statement

"We have the lowest beer tax in the nation."

Oregon state Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland, Jan. 15 in a work session

The ruling

Does Oregon have the lowest beer tax in the country? PolitiFact Oregon checked.

We called Scott Drenkard, an economist with the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group in Washington, D.C. Its website includes a weekly map of the United States showing beer tax rates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Drenkard, noting that the statistics are drawn from another group, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, said Oregon ranks 45th nationally with consumers paying a tax rate of 8 cents a gallon of beer. That comes out to just under 4 cents tacked on to the price of a six-pack.

The rate puts Oregon behind only Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri and Wyoming, which has a 2 cent-a-gallon beer tax.

Tennessee, by contrast, ranks first at $1.17 per gallon. Alaska's $1.07 is second.

Monroe, contacted via email for a response, wrote: "If you add in the sales tax, Oregon has the lowest. The states that are lower than Oregon have a sales tax. When you add the sales tax to the beer tax the total is higher than Oregon."

According to the Federation of Tax Administrators, a Washington, D.C., tax-research group, Monroe is correct when it comes to sales taxes. Oregon is one of nine states that do not have a sales tax.

However, general sales taxes apply to most retail items, not just beer. We called Drenkard back to get his thoughts.

"Sales taxes do affect the price of beer, but it's not a beer-specific tax," he said, noting that 20 states do impose additional taxes pertaining specifically to malted beverages. "Then again, corporate taxes also affect the price of goods, including beer. Should we add those in as well? Where do you draw a line?"

Oregon, according to a national group that tracks beer taxes, has one of the lowest such rates in the county. The 8-cents-a-gallon rate, sixth-lowest nationally, has remained unchanged since 1978.

But Monroe claimed that Oregon has the lowest beer tax in the United States.

Later, he tried to justify that assertion by saying it's the lowest if Oregon's lack of a sales tax is taken into account. He didn't make that specification in his original statement, though, and sales taxes aren't specific to beer. We rate his claim False.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com/Oregon.

Comments
Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Nationally, the word "evangelical" has become in recent years nearly synonymous with "conservative Republican" and Alabama is one of the most evangelical states in the country. But in Alabama, there is a difference: black Christians.While in many par...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Wednesday to fill fellow Democrat Al Franken’s Senate seat until a special election in November, setting up his longtime and trusted adviser for a potentially bruising 2018...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Still-uncounted ballots are unlikely to change the outcome of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama enough to spur an automatic recount, the state’s election chief said Wednesday as Democratic victor Doug Jones urged Republican Roy Moore...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

The Democrats’ seismic victory Tuesday in the unlikely political battleground of Alabama brought jubilation — and a sudden a rush of confidence — to a party that has been struggling to gain its footing since Donald Trump won the presidency 13 months ...
Published: 12/13/17
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Published: 12/12/17
Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping defense policy bill that authorizes a $700 billion budget for the military, including additional spending on missile defense programs to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear w...
Published: 12/12/17
Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has asked the House Intelligence Committee to open an investigation into leaked information related to his closed interview with the committee last week."To maintain the credibility of the in...
Published: 12/12/17
Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

WASHINGTON -— It’s the lock that launched a two-year investigation and took down a president. And now more than four decades later — and for a starting bid of $50,000 — it can be a really wonky conversation piece.Nate D. Sanders Auctions will auction...
Published: 12/12/17
Democrats say Trump’s tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

Democrats say Trump’s tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

WASHINGTON — Plowing into the sexual harassment debate in a big way, President Donald Trump laced into Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday, tweeting that the New York Democrat would come to his office "begging" for campaign contributions and "do anyth...
Published: 12/12/17
Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — National political leaders, a Hollywood actress and a retired basketball star made last-ditch efforts to woo voters in the Alabama Senate race Monday, as the candidates gave their final arguments in a pivotal special election that ...
Published: 12/12/17