Instead of closing New York State's budget gap with $1.3 billion of new taxes, Gov. David Paterson has opted to use federal stimulus money to do the job. However, some of the proposed new taxes remain on the table including a beer and wine tax, which increases the current tax from 11 to 24 cents per gallon.
This is disconcerting news for employees of the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Lysander, which employs roughly 815 employees.
"We are extremely disappointed that Gov. Paterson's announcement [Wednesday] to eliminate a number of proposed tax increases did not include the beer tax increase," said Steve McCormick, plant manager at the Baldwinsville brewery.
While McCormick agrees relief is necessary, he fears the proposed tax increase will affect jobs at the plant.
"We agree with the governor's statement that the highest priority should be to 'provide targeted relief to those who need it most during this economic crisis,' and that 'taxes should be the last thing we consider,'" he said. "Allowing a 118 percent beer tax increase will do exactly the opposite by causing job losses and further damaging New York's economy. We hope the governor and state lawmakers will reject this costly and shortsighted proposal that will threaten many good-paying jobs and hurt countless hardworking citizens."