Craft Spirits Makers Need to Seize the Day – Tell Your Senator to Support Tax Amendment “Portman #1”

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The latest data from the American Craft Spirits Association shows that there were 1,589 licensed distilleries in the United States as of August 2017. Those distilleries represent nearly 19,600 full time employees. The majority of the sales, in fact 92% of those sales take place in the distiller’s home state. The point is craft spirits makers are entrepreneurs, creating jobs, supporting local farmers, creating tourism destinations and of course maker’s of great spirits.

The American Craft Spirits Association Legislative Affairs team has been working diligently to garner support for the Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform. Senate bill S. 236 and the companion house bill H.R. 747 both have majority support but they didn’t make it into the current major tax bill. These companion bills would lower the excessive Federal Excise Tax for the first 100,000 proof gallons from $13.50 to $2.70 per proof gallon for all craft spirits makers. Now is the time for craft distillers and makers to get involved and do their part.

As they say in Broadway’s Newsies, “Now is the time to seize the day, Answer the call and don’t delay.”

What Craft Spirits Makers Can Do to Help – Call Your Senator

The next 24 to 48 hours could make all the difference in the Senate as the Senate Finance Committee is considering its version of the tax bill this week. In a very positive sign, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio (joined by Senators Isakson of Georgia, Senator Roberts of Kansas and Senator Cassidy of Louisiana) has filed S. 236 (the Wyden/Blunt Craft Beverage bill) as an amendment, Portman#1 (99th on a list of over 350 potential amendments).

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In a memo sent by the ACSA Legislative Affairs Team here’s what they request you do.

“In the next 24 hours, we need to convince the Chairman and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee to accept the Portman amendment. It is critically important that we communicate with these GOP Senators’ tax or legislative counsel (either call or email). Here’s a list of names, phone numbers and email addresses to use.”

Senator State Telephone Email Address
Orin Hatch Utah 202.224.5251 james_williams@hatch.senate.gov
Chuck Grassley Iowa 202.224.3744 chris_conlin@grassley.senate.gov
Mike Crapo Idaho 202.224.6142 mike_quickel@crapo.senate.gov
Mike Enzi Wyoming 202.224.3424 bart_massey@enzi.senate.gov
John Cornyn Texas 202.224.2934 andrew_siracuse@cornyn.senate.gov
John Thune North Dakota 202.224.2321 mark_warren@thune.senate.gov
Richard Burr North Carolina 202.224.3154 natasha_hickman@burr.senate.gov
Pat Toomey Pennsylvania 202.224.4254 randy_herndon@toomey.senate.gov
Dean Heller Nevada 202.224.6244 joseph_boddicker@heller.senate.gov
Senator Tim Scott South Carolina 202.224.6121 chay_hawkins@scott.senate.gov

If you do not have a Member on the Senate Finance Committee, please call your Senators and tell them how important it is to include S.236 in the major tax bill they are considering.

Here is your message – The Portman amendment would:

  • Provide a reduced Federal Excise Tax (FET) for craft distillers, which does NOT exist in current law (even though craft brewers and craft wineries pay a reduced FET).
  • The bill also provides additional tax relief for beer and wine and is supported by every major trade group and many agriculture groups.
  • Because the FET is so high, it is difficult to make a profit, thus, the small business tax relief does not help at this point. Further, distillers cannot take advantage of the expensing changes because they lack the ability to buy additional equipment.
  • Making this tax change will increase growth for our small businesses, help tourism, from bottling and barrels, labeling, packaging and importantly, locally sourced agriculture. REINVESTMENT is the key.

Anything the Senator can do publicly or privately with Senator Hatch to see that the Portman amendment #1 is included in the tax bill would be greatly appreciated. We are hoping that Senator Hatch will put this in a Manager’s amendment.

As always, if you have questions on our “ask”, please call us. We’ll walk you through the process. Thank you for your support, calls, and grassroots work.

We can do this if we work together.”
Best – Your Legislative Affairs Team

Seize the day people!

Related Stories 
Craft Spirits Makers 2017 D.C. Fly-In to Support Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform [Agenda] 
Virginia Distillers Association in D.C. to Support Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform 
HR 747 Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Reaches Majority in House 
Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Act to Help Beer, Cider, Wine & Distilled Spirits Industries

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