ELKINS, W.Va. – Governor Jim Justice wants to get rid of the state’s income tax to stimulate the economy, but if he does, he will propose an increase in sales tax rates.
Companies that bear the brunt of this tax are local breweries.
“Last year we paid about $ 20,000 in government excise taxes in terms of taxes. If this new bill is introduced, the state excise tax will rise to $ 117,000, ”said Brian Reymiller, operations manager, Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company.
House Bill 2027 suggests that the brewery should pay a tax on every keg of beer a brewery produces. Right now the tax is $ 5 on each barrel, but this bill aims to increase it to $ 29.25.
That is an increase of more than 400%.
For most breweries, if the state tax is increased for them, their customers will see an increase in draft and canned beer.
“We’re going to have to raise prices straight away to do this, and that’s going to be at least ten cents a jar,” said Matt Kwasniewski, co-owner of Big Timber Brewing Company. “With a lot of beer there is a four-pack for eight or nine dollars, and if that goes over ten dollars now, a lot of people will see that and forego it and go for something a little cheaper.”
Some breweries are already dealing with low sales due to the high prices in the shops.
“We can already feel the heat from it. When you look at Kroger and you see my beer or Greenbrier beer and they say, “Wow, so expensive, do you know why it’s so high?” We’re pretty high because we’re small, ”said Reymiller. “I have to pay more for my malt. I have to pay more for my hops, so we have to ask more again. “
There is no way other breweries can raise their prices – they are simply being forced out of business or the state
“We have a choice of whether to file for bankruptcy with this tax or move to another state,” said Roger Johnson, co-owner of Screeching Owl Brewery.
But leaving the state means leaving a state they love.
“We were born and raised. We are. I’m originally from Wood County, Parkersburg. Roger grew up in the Huntington-Barboursville area of Cabell County. We met at Glenville State College. We are West Virgins. This is not a decision we want to make, ”stated Crista Johnson, co-owner of Screeching Owl Brewery.
Some solutions from these owners think that the state tax is the same as the federal tax
“It’s tiered at the federal level,” said Ashley Kwasniewski, co-owner of Big Timber Brewery. “It’s just a blanket, no matter how much beer you make, everyone pays the same, and if they want to collect taxes it would be – they could follow the federal structure of different tier sizes and that would be the sales tax you pay. ”
Those who want to learn more about and support these local breweries can visit their websites linked below.
Click here to read the full house bill.