Examination of existing funds and programs needed before raising taxes

The Oregon Beverage Alliance supports the creation of a balanced taskforce of diverse stakeholders with all parties involved working together to examine existing revenue streams and the need to address addiction prevention and recovery.

Below is a statement from Oregon Beverage Alliance, which has not been consulted on the formation of a taskforce:

As local business owners and residents, brewers, winemakers, cidermakers, distributors and distillers, we care deeply about Oregon. That’s why we invest and create so many jobs here in our communities.

Without question, more needs to be done to prevent and address addiction and we stand ready and willing to work with lawmakers and stakeholders.

Alcohol is the third largest source of revenue for the state and we’re glad to help serve the community. But for some reason, only 3.5 percent of existing beer, wine, cider and spirits revenue are dedicated to addiction recovery and prevention. Before raising taxes on Oregon’s breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries, we need to deeply examine the current system and why existing dollars are not being spent on these programs. We also need to know what is working and what isn’t.

By their own audit, Oregon Health Authority does not identify the success rate of their programs and was found inadequate in monitoring funds disbursed for addiction programs. There has been no attempt by OHA to move additional funding to these programs through existing alcohol revenues collected by the state. We shouldn’t put the cart before the horse, asking for increased taxes before developing metrics to measure success.

Any taskforce created needs to be comprehensive and inclusive of all parties to examine these issues before coming up with a recommendation. We hope lawmakers working on the creation of a taskforce will include brewers, winemakers, cidermakers, distributors and distillers.

Submitted by Ramsey Cox of the Oregon Beverage Alliance. The Oregon Beverage Alliance is made up of Oregon brewers, winemakers, cidermakers, distillers and their supply and hospitality partners.