A proposed bill that would double the state’s beer, wine and liquor tax took a big step backward Monday when the chairman of the House Health Committee removed it from the agenda.
Chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne, supports the bill and is the one and only sponsor of it. Perdue’s bill would double the per-barrel tax from $5.50 to $11.00. The additional money would be used to fund substance abuse services in the state.
Perdue says he agreed not to move the bill forward but he still believes it’s a good idea.
“I think it needs to happen and I was hopeful the (Tomblin) administration would see this as an opportunity to do something profound,” Perdue said.
The House of Delegates will soon be dealing with the governor’s prison overcrowding bill that includes a provision for substance abuse programs for those who have been in jail in hopes of reducing recidivism. Perdue says those programs will need funding and doubling the beer tax would have been a way to do it.
Del. Perdue says the beer lobby should get behind the idea.
“I don’t want to lose the opportunity to continue to reinforce to the industry that they can voluntarily step up and be the help that we need,” Perdue said. “They could be supportive of the State of West Virginia in a very profound way at a very, very, very minimal cost.”
Perdue says he plans to continue to push the issue.