Price of beer in Texas could rise

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- A study just found the state of Texas ranks number two in beer consumption. Now, one think-tank wants the state to profit off that, by increasing the tax of one of Texans' favorite beverages.

Dick Lavine, with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, says Texas' beer tax hasn't increased in 30 years. He says with recent budget shortfalls, now's the time to do it.

The idea of paying more for a brew isn't popular with everyone, but the folks we talked to Wednesday say it won't keep them from downing a cold one.

Cans, bottles or from the tap, no matter how you take your beer if you're buying in Texas it could soon cost you more. But don't blame the bartender for your high tab. If the price goes up, that will be the Texas lawmakers' decision.

"This is about trying to raise revenue we need for things people want," fiscal analyst, Dick Lavine said.

Lavine, says Texas' beer tax hasn't increased since 1984, but the price of beer has nearly doubled since then. He says it's time to raise it, and put that money towards things like education and roads.

"The price of what the state needs to buy has gone up. You know, how much you need to pay your teachers, how much it costs to pour concrete per road, whatever. The state is paying more for things, but it's not collecting more as the price of beer goes up," Lavine said.

But some Texomans aren't buying it.

"I don't think that's true because the lottery was supposed to do the same thing and it's not true. The roads haven't improved. The roads are terrible all over Texas. The roads are in terrible shape. That's not true. That's not what will happen," bar patron, J.T. Hawkins said.

Bar patron, Gerlene Woods, said raising the beer tax won't affect how people consume it, and that is what bothers her.

"I think that they know that people are going to drink, you know, whether they're taxed or not. I think it's unfair to tax something and take advantage of something like that," Woods said.

"That's why they tax it, because they know you're still gonna buy beer," Hawkins said.

Lavine says because the tax hike is just in the idea stage, he does not know how much it would go up. He says the benefits of the increase would outweigh the higher price.

"It's our belief that people are willing to pay for things they care about. And people care a lot about especially their schools," Lavine said.

Lavine says he plans to take the idea to lawmakers when they're back in session in January. Lavine also proposed Texas raise the tax on sugary drinks at last year's session. That did not pass.

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