Beer Tax Politics Hard at Work

A couple months back many of us got emails and twitter messages from some influential beer people and organizations like the AHA (American Homebrewers Association), American Brewers Guild and our local State Beer Guilds.  We already pay a premium for the beer we drink, some more then others.  When I’m paying 20+ dollars for bottles of beer (Mikkeller Weasel, Allagash Curiuex, and others), I don’t want to be paying even more taxes.

As the emails and web pages urged us to do, I wrote my state senator, Robert Menendez (D), an email.  I did vote for Senator Menendez, not that it really matters, but I felt I had more of a right to express my concerns to him because my vote did help him get elected and I want to be heard.  I filled out the form on his website and pretty much assumed it when into the big abyss of government cyberspace since I had no response.

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Click Image to view full size

Today I received an email back from Sen. Menendez, which really irritated me.  I don’t know if it was the 10th day of 90° NJ heat with 90% humidity or the lack of any type of answer to my concerns about the Beer tax in his response.  (You can view the reply email by click the image to the right.)

I think we can assume, that it was an Aid the actually answered this email with a canned response.  You know, fill in name here, issue goes here and copy and paste middle paragraph and finish off the letter with something that has nothing to do with the original issue, but makes the Senator look good.

Lets break it down.

Got my name right!

Next, a brief thank you for taking the time to fill out the form on the website.  OK, I can live with that no need to be typing that over and over again.

The 2nd paragraph basically tells me, with out committing to a direction, that the Beer tax is an unfortunate means to and end to fund health care reform which Senator Menendez is a “strong supporter of“.  I really don’t want my commentary to focus on health care reform, but I must say there has to be other ways to fund health care reform with out the continuous taxing of 90% of the people making up only 10% of the nations wealth.  Anyway, Sen Menendez goes on to say “it is my fiduciary responsibility to fully consider all available sources of revenue to pay for health care reform“, which as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, it is his responsibility.  But lets look at the billions of dollars in waste in Medicare and Medicaid.  Aren’t there are other places to look too, besides taxing Soda and Alcohol?  Really, how much do they expect to get out of Soda and Alcohol to pay for what will be a multi-trillion dollar universal health care system???

Mind you, this was only the first 3 sentences of second paragraph and I’m already in a tizzy.  The last sentence of the email, was just plain patronizing, telling me that he understands my concerns and will keep my views in mind.  I’m sure he will, especially after just saying that he is a strong supporter for health care reform and will consider all available revenue sources to pay for it.  I can picture it in my head, Senator Menendez, going to cast his vote and saying, Oh wait that guy from Simply Beer said not to vote for this.

The email goes on talking about the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) in the next paragraph.  I own two business and a house, I never mentioned anything about AMT nor do I even remotely qualify for it.  However, Senator Menendez’s email makes a point saying how proud he is to have “successfully attached a one-year patch to the AMT to the economic recovery package, which increases the exemption amounts for the AMT“.  Well I’m happy for the people who this helps, but it has nothing to do with my concerns with the Beverage Tax plan.  All Campaigning and Propaganda.

What do you think? Did you get the same letter from Menendez or other Senate Finance Committee Member?


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4 Responses to “Beer Tax Politics Hard at Work”

  1. vikingdiplomat Says:

    Here is the response I got:

    Dear Mr. Soandso

    Thank you for contacting me regarding proposed taxes on alcoholic beverages. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this important matter.

    As you know, the Senate Finance Committee has considered an alcoholic beverage excise tax as a possible way to pay for a government takeover of our health care system. While no legislation has been introduced that would implement this tax, I remain concerned about any proposal that increases taxes on hard-working Americans. Taxpayers already work almost four months out of the year to pay for the operations of government; this is more than they work to pay for transportation, food, and clothing combined. Hardworking Texans deserve to keep more of their own money to spend, save, and invest how they see fit. Congress should instead work to keep taxes low and reduce wasteful spending. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I will oppose any efforts to raise taxes on alcoholic beverages. I firmly believe Congress should not rely on tax increases to fund government initiatives.

    Moreover, I am committed to comprehensive, market-based reforms that ensure our health care system works for every patient. I am helping lead a Senate health reform working group that meets regularly to find and implement solutions for the most pressing problems in our nation’s health care system. It is critically important for Americans to have access to high quality, affordable health insurance. Rather than increasing the power of faceless Washington bureaucrats, raising taxes, and spending more taxpayer dollars, I believe we can improve our health care system by giving individual patients and doctors choice and control over health care decisions. I am committed to improving access to quality, affordable health care as Congress debates comprehensive health care reform in the months ahead.

    You may be certain that I will keep your thoughts in mind as the 111th Congress considers health care reform. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent the interests of Texans in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.


    United States Senator

  2. Simply Beer Says:

    Thanks for posting this letter! This sounds like Senator Cornyn is leaning more to say no to the taxes. How long ago did you receive this response?

  3. mike Says:

    Standard letters are scantrons for education. Just fill in Key 5 and you got them all right. I’ve also been drinking 90 minutes all night, but i got the same exact letter.

  4. vikingdiplomat Says:

    Yes, it sounds like he is leaning towards a Nay. I sent my email to his office on June 8, 2009, got the above reply July 8, 2009.

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