DISCUS fighting Delaware tax proposal

DISCUS, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., is taking on a Delaware plan that would raise the tax on beer, wine and spirits by 50%.

A radio ad targets what DISCUS calls the "hypocrisy of legislators spending millions of dollars toward boosting tourism, while at the same time proposing devastating taxes on tourism-related businesses and their workers."

"The Legislature is trying to quietly sail through a massive alcohol tax hike that is going to hurt consumers and businesses alike," said Jay Hibberd, vice president of the industry organization. "This ad gets the word out that this tax increase will cost hundreds of jobs in the hospitality industry among those least able to afford it."

DISCUS also notes that such a proposal runs counter to a Delaware Legislature action in 1997 that saw the state economy grow after a decrease in the spirits tax.

DISCUS analysts contend that that a 50% hike would lead to a decline in economic output of more than $22 million and lead to the loss of an estimated 330 hospitality sector jobs, such as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and others.

Delaware is facing a $217 million budget shortfall. State officials, doing what so many state officials do by meeting behind closed doors, would not verify the 50% hike level, but a proposal sheet from the state Office of Alcohol Beverage Control uses figures that match that.

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