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Perhaps the burden is being overstated
The April 21 article “Plan to hike alcohol tax stirs spirited standoffs” did a good job describing the issues being discussed in the Legislature. Let me add a couple of observations:
First, under proposed legislation, the credit against the tax will increase to 50,000 barrels per year. At 331 beers per barrel, that’s about 330,000 beers per week tax-free. Is Summit Brewing hinting at an increase in the credit? If so, it should ask for one. The larger policy question is: When does a small brewer become a big brewer and start paying the excise tax to offset alcohol-driven harm?
Second, information concerning profitability in the alcohol industry is hard to come by. A friend in the business told me that his margarita sells for $6 and that the liquor content costs 60 cents, so a 7-cent increase makes no difference for him. Wine, craft beer and tap beer also are good moneymakers.
The argument in the article that the impact of the tax will be doubled by the time it gets to consumers is made with no proof. It’s just an assertion, like the other claims of economic hardship if the bill passes.
Bill Messinger, St. Paul
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The U is a victim of its own utopia
I must admit, I have been amused by the heat the University of Minnesota is taking over its abundance of $200,000-a-year administrators. From the perspective of this conservative alum, it looks like the U is now the target of the collectivism it has been teaching for decades.
We recently saw it in the health care field. According to the collectivists, health care is a right. If a person can’t afford it, then the taxpayers have to pick up the tab. When the taxpayers can no longer afford it, the balance must be paid by the doctors, hospital administrators and industry entrepreneurs, who must reduce their compensation in service of the collective.
If health care is a right, then education is surely a right, right? That means it must be provided free to those who can’t afford it. After the taxpayers have paid as much as they can, the university administrators are the next to take a hit. It doesn’t matter what the market would pay them; the only relevant issue is how much the collectivists think they should receive.
When the collectivist “utopia” has been achieved, professionals, executives and entrepreneurs will work in service of the collective, for wages and benefits determined by the collective. Wealth will be concentrated in the hands of the politicians, activists and bureaucrats, just as it was in the old Soviet Union.
You have to give the collectivists credit; they never give up. Welcome to the Recycled World Order!
Gregg J. Cavanagh, Maple Grove
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.