BEND, OR -- Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is trying to pass legislation that would help the craft beer and wine industries grow in Oregon. He met with industry leaders for a roundtable discussion at Deschutes Brewery on Sunday.
Wyden's legislation would reduce federal excise taxes for craft brewers, cider makers, vintners and distillers, and would update antiquated rules. "This legislation acknowledges that they are world-renown and a boom to the Oregon economy and we want to build on that kind of growth in the days ahead. They are all homegrown, unique industries and what we tried to do is focus on taking a targeted approach to updating these antiquated rules and reduce taxes so that we could create more high quality jobs for the state," he said.
Gary Fish, founder and CEO of Deschutes Brewery, was part of the panel. He believes Wyden's proposed legislation will make a difference. "Nobody is taking this and sticking it in their pocket and walking away. This is all going to buy equipment, hire people, improve pay and benefits, it's going to do all the things that small businesses work their tails off to do all the time."
Sen. Wyden told the group, "Government doesn't create jobs, the jobs come from the private sector. If I can help set the climate in the right way, I think the people around this table will be able to go do their thing. As Gary said, as someone who has been in the business, the growth would be substantial, because the businesses here say the tax policy alone - apart from the regulatory side - would free up hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to invest back into businesses."
He says in Oregon, these industries are responsible for an estimated 40,000 jobs and generate about $6 billion annually in revenue.