Lawmakers will consider proposed beer tax - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lawmakers will consider proposed beer tax

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CORALVILLE (KWWL) -- Go to the store to pick up a six pack, and it might cost a little more.

''We have pre-filed an agency bill which amounts to a proposal that would increase Iowa's beer tax,'' said Dale Woolery, the associate director of the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy. 

The proposed tax would tack on an additional five cents per 12 ounce can.  It would be the first such increase to the cost of beer in Iowa in the last 25 years.

Woolery believes the heightened cost will help keep beer out of the hands of underage consumers.

''We think that it would be one more piece to the puzzle and would help simply because of the ability and inability of some people to afford, especially teenagers,'' he said.

 The benefits, Woolery says, doesn't end there.  His department is projecting that tax would generate $41 million in a 12 month time span.

Money that would be given out as grants by his department, and used as resources for substance abuse treatment programs as well as enforcement initiatives.

''This alone won't solve those types of problems, but it could help, along with other efforts,'' Woolery said.

Some feel a tax isn't part of the solution in addressing consequences involved with alcohol consumption.

''I think people are getting pretty tired, not just in the state but in the country, for paying extra for other people's mistakes,'' said Edgar McGuire, owner of Bootleggin' Barzinis in Coralville.

McGuire is skeptical that a small added cost will deter teenagers from drinking.

"Underage people having money, that's not their money usually.  So I think money isn't an issue.  Raising the prices isn't going to make much of a difference, it's just going to be a burden on the good people that enjoy beer.

It's a debate that will be settled in the months to come by lawmakers.

But for now, the conversation has been tapped open.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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