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Inslee proposes permanent beer tax to fund schools

To help pay for $1.2 billion dollars in increased school funding, Inslee wants to make the state’s temporary beer tax, permanent.

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Homer Simpson might say 'D'oh' if he read the list of ideas Washington Governor Jay Inslee has for balancing the budget.

To help pay for $1.2 billion in increased school funding, Inslee wants to make the state's temporary beer tax, permanent.

The current 50-cent a gallon tax on beer was supposed to expire next summer.

Under the law, microbreweries are exempt. Inslee's proposal calls for expanding the tax to include all beer sales.

'We already struggle to compete with bigger breweries,' said Randy Wans with Olympia-based Fish Brewing Company.

Wans said the tax would result in higher prices and possibly layoffs. The company has 70 employees.

'Any kind of taxes like that make it that much harder to continue to compete,' said Wans.

Inslee, an admitted beer drinker, sees the beer tax as a fair way to help pay for schools.

'I will be a proud participant in the continued payment of investment in our schools through this beautiful amber nectar of the gods,' said Inslee, D-Washington.

Extending the beer tax is not something Republicans in the Senate would support.

'That's yet another job creator that's going to be taxed with this plan,' said Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.