The decision from the Nebraska Supreme Court that we reported on overturning the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission’s decision to tax fermented malt beverages as spirits rather than beer has a new twist.
Food Manufacturing is reporting that the Nebraska legislature has started the process for debate and approval of a bill to define fermented malt beverages as beer rather than spirits.
That large tax jump had citizens and lawmakers buzzing, and the Legislature debated more than 2½ half hours on the issue Thursday.
Lawmakers voted 27-7 to advance a bill defining “alcopops” as beer, keeping the tax where it is now. It still faces two more rounds of debate.
“I know this strikes an emotional chord,” said bill sponsor Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber. “I know we have a problem with underage drinking. But not all of these flavored malt beverages are even the same alcohol content as beer. Some are lower.
“It is the Legislature’s role, along with the governor, to set tax policy. I do not believe we should raise these taxes.”
We will keep you posted as the bill progresses, but it looks like the sudden tax increase that FMB producers saw from $0.31 to $3.75 per gallon is about to be legislatively overruled.