While the beer and wine legislation introduced on January 12 in the House Commerce Committee has still not been published, an Uncork bill was introduced in the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday, February 2nd. Perhaps we should not be surprised that the Senate Bill has not yet been published either.
Interestingly, there were two "no" votes to the request for introduction. While bill introductions are typically unanimously adopted, Senator Rob Olson and Senator Molly Baumgardner were heard to say "no" to the introduction in the Senate Commerce meeting.
We still don't know anything about the bill's contents, although media reports seem to indicate that these are strong beer and wine bills - with none of the license purchasing provisions or limitations on numbers or locations of licenses. With the Senate introduction, we will be facing both a Senate Uncork Bill and a House Uncork Bill.
Legislators are asking about CMB, and whether or not the product will be going away. Manufacturers, including Anheuser-Busch and Coors-Miller have stated that CMB is not going away, but grocery and convenience stores are complaining that they will lose their variety once Oklahoma and Colorado implement planned changes in 2018. See members of the Senate Commerce Committee at the bottom of this message.
House Taxation Committee Holds Informational Hearings on Liquor Tax, Tobacco Tax and Motor Fuels Tax Increases
After two days of informational hearings on the Governor's proposals to raise tobacco taxes, liquor enforcement tax, and motor fuels tax, it seems the House Taxation Committee will be moving forward with a different plan. The hearing was very well attended and committee members seemed interested in the multiple layers of taxation paid on liquor products. They were receptive to the concerns about competition across the Missouri border, where liquor taxes only include a gallonage and a sales tax. Rep. Ken Corbet (R-Topeka) commented, We seem to forget that money has legs, and that business can just walk across the border to avoid these taxes - and that kills our small businesses.
Next week, the House Taxation Committee will hold a public hearing on a proposal to expand the income tax categories to 3 - adding a higher income category with a higher rate to the state income tax, close some exemptions, add a small increase to motor fuels tax, and reduce the state sales tax on food to 5%. The bill has a lot of moving parts. There is also a proposal to eliminate the LLC income tax exemption, reinstate tax on passive income (such as rents) and increase the income tax rate on the two current income tax categories. It will take many more weeks of hearings for these options to be narrowed down. Meanwhile, tax receipts for January did come in slightly above projections, which is whittling away at the projected deficit a bit. There is no doubt that liquor taxes are very likely to be tossed into the mix - perhaps more than once before the session is over.
Read KABR Testimony Here
Read notes here: Notes from Jan 31 Tobacco and Liquor Tax Increases
Notes from Feb 1 Liquor and Motor Fuels
HAVE YOU PAID YOUR DUES FOR 2017? PRINT DUES FORM HERE.