Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Craft brewers looking for relief from unexpected tax hike

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Albany/HV: Craft brewers looking for relief from unexpected tax hike
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Craft brewers and their supporters gather in Albany, looking for relief from an unexpected tax hike. As our Erin Connolly tells us, if brewers don't get their way, the price of your next pint could be going up.

ALBANY, N.Y. ---Craft brewers are hoping some tax relief is on tap. Joined by elected officials at Albany Pump Station, brewers spoke about the unexpected jump in their state taxes. In March, a state court ruled that a state excise tax exemption was unconstitutional, a sobering realization for brewing companies.

Nick Matt, the Chairman and CEO of F.X. Matt Brewing Co., said, ''Frankly, this is a slap in the face, to all of a sudden have this happen because we didn't see it coming.''

Now, brewers are pushing lawmakers to pass a bill that'll give small breweries a tax credit on barrel production and brand label registration fees.

State Senator Lee Zeldin said, ''The one thing I'm pleased to report after extensive research is that Republicans and Democrats, it transcends politics. We like beer, and we like the idea of taking this industry that is growing and helping it move to an even greater tomorrow and that's why we're here.''

Without relief from Albany, brewers would face annual tax increases ranging from $10,000 to $1 million. Some say that could cut down on their ability to expand, hire workers, and keep the price of a cold one down.

Steve Hindy, the President of Brooklyn Brewery, said, "You can imagine this kind of hit in the first quarter of the year when you're just beginning to implement your budget, really requires you to take a look at the whole plan for a year and the future.''

While in bad spirits now, brewers hope this problem brewing won't be a problem for long.
They hope the bill will be passed before state government wraps up for the summer.

Matt said, ''These are New York State businesses that will stay in New York when they are successful because they're built on local business. Small breweries are an economic bright spot in an otherwise not very good economy.''

State Senator Daniel Squadron said, ''To my colleagues lets do this in bipartisan way bicameral way and get it done because we have jobs and communities around the state depending on it.''

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