Proposed beer tax increase could pay for US health care - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Proposed beer tax increase could pay for US health care

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- You might be handing over two more dollars for a case of beer. It's an effort from lawmakers to help save for expanding health care. They say you should never combine beer and politics, that is unless your a senator trying to finance health care.

The proposal would place a tax on beer, wine, hard liquor and pop - but not diet pop. It's all an attempt to tax lifestyle choices.

It's friday afternoon - before a holiday weekend - and Vans Liquor store in East Dubuque, Illinois is packed.

"Stock up for the party weekend," said Tyler Riegler.

Carts of beer - pop and liquor are hauled out as people prepare for a three day weekend. Riegler just spent $200, 15 cases of beer and pop.

"It's expensive enough as it is. I know at work I drink enough pop, even though it's not the greatest for you," said Riegler.

Which is why lawmakers are considering taxing people like Riegler - to help pay for the rising costs of health care.

"The trend in obesity is america i think is part of the trend or reason for that is because of caloric beverages have a lot of calories without providing any nutrition," said dietitian, Kristie Jacobsen.

Jacobsen says beer - pop and anything else okay in moderation. But lawmakers don't plan to tax diet pop. Following the American Dietetics Association which says diet soda in small amounts isn't harmful.

As for the money from taxing these beverages, it depends who you ask.

"It's be okay going towards healthcare," said Bob Kruser, "with all the beer that they sell through out the us the more it would generate. I don't think they need that much money."

"It's hard to say if it all is gonna go to health care. I'm not really into the politics," said Riegler.

Other solutions for health care costs - a new levy on job based health insurance - which could lead to higher income taxes for some.

Under the proposal -- wine would be hardest hit by the tax.

The tax on a bottle of wine would increase by 233 percent under the proposal.

Meanwhile - a six pack of beer will see a tax increase of 145 percent. So what about hard liquor - it will see the smallest percentage growth in tax at nineteen percent. Proponents say the higher alcohol taxes would bring in nearly $60 billion over a ten-year period.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
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