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'The Watchdog'

Beer Taxes, Property Taxes, and ITR Across Iowa

posted on May 25, 2018

Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor those who paid the ultimate cost for the rights we all enjoy. While we are grateful for our veterans and those who serve today, please pause for a moment at some point this weekend to reflect on those who, in the words of President Lincoln, “have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.”

Beer’s Most Expensive Ingredient: Taxes

According to the Beer Institute, “Taxes are the single most expensive ingredient in beer, costing more than the labor and raw materials combined.” Research has shown that approximately 40 percent of the retail price of beer is dedicated toward covering all the applicable taxes.

Did you even realize you were paying a beer tax? The Tax Foundation released a report comparing the beer tax in each state. With summer quickly approaching, we can expect to see a seasonal uptick in beer sales, thanks to much-anticipated barbecues, baseball games, and the like. But when we fork over cash to buy yet another six-pack, how much is being used to cover the expense of brewing the beer itself? Less than one might think.

ITR’s Policy Analyst, John Hendrickson, also analyzed government’s unquenchable thirst for tax dollars in an article for Tax Education Foundation earlier this year.

Property Taxes

Next September’s property tax bills will shock many central Iowa residents and businesses. A closer look at tax statements will show that even though the property tax rate may not have changed, the tax bill may be considerably higher. The reason for the discrepancy illustrates a flaw in the way Iowa’s property tax system works.

This week, a Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa article stated, “When there’s huge growth in taxable valuation, even with constant rates, property tax owners will experience a large increase in their taxes and local governments will reap a windfall in revenue. All the while, some local officials will take credit for holding the rate constant.”

While this excellent article addresses Central Iowa communities specifically, the same dynamic is playing out all over the state. To protect property owners, ITR has long supported a realistic limit on the percentage increase in the total dollar amount of property taxes on any property in any year. While we will continue that advocacy, sometimes the best way to reign in property tax bills is simply asking your local elected officials why are they taking and spending so much of your money?

ITR Across Iowa

ITR has been promoting the benefits of lower taxes, reduced regulation, and more economic freedom since our founding 40 years ago. It was great to hear Iowa House of Representatives hopefuls echo those same thoughts during the primary candidate forum we recently hosted in Mt. Pleasant.

Next week we will host another candidate forum in Boone along with a roundtable luncheon in Cedar Falls with Congressman Rod Blum, and State Senators Craig Johnson and Annette Sweeney, and State Representatives Walt Rogers and Sandy Salmon.