Is Now The Best Time for Tax Reductions for Napa Wineries?
So, I’ve been taken to task by a friend who has followed this blog for some time as well as my social media posts. I’m reproducing his letter here because he is correct—I’ve not spoken up one way or another about the tax break for wineries that was folded into the federal Tax Reform measure, which I do oppose. The writer is referring to this.
I’ve corresponded with you before on other issues. I wanted to reach out to you today because I’m a little dismayed that you have not weighed in the on the federal excise tax credit for wineries that has been dropped into the tax reform bill.
I’ve seen you opine on the problems that are created by income and wealth inequality. I’ve seen you oppose the tax reform package on the grounds that now is about the worst time to lower taxes. So where is the indignation when it comes to your industry getting a little treat in the tax reform package? Why not speak out on this kind of giveaway?
This excise tax credit amounts to no more than a transfer of federal revenue to wineries (and brewers and distillers too). Is it so critical that wineries get a reduction in the excise taxes they pay that we take funds out of the federal coffers that otherwise might be used to reduce the federal debt, shore up Medicare or social security, or assure healthcare is affordable for low-income Americans? Exactly how many Napa Valley winery owners are in such dire straights that we need to take money that could be used to help folks near poverty and give it back to the Napa Valley vintners?
The measure of a man is on display when he is willing to stand up for what is right, rather than see his own pockets and his friends’ pockets lined. I’m disappointed in you, Tom.
The writer asks good questions that deserve answers I don’t currently have. And it’s true that I personally oppose the recent tax reduction legislation on the grounds that now isn’t the best time to exacerbate the extraordinary wealth inequality that festers and contributes mightily to a reduction in civility and the health of the Republic.
One thing I do know is that the reduction in federal excise taxes from which wineries (including those in Napa Valley) benefit will in no way reduce the price consumers pay for wine. The Wine Institute estimates that a 50,000 case winery will save an estimated $21,000 annually due to the Federal Excise Tax reduction (probably more if they make much wine over 14% alcohol). This $21,000 could help pay for additional equipment, offset the cost of hiring a new employee, help pay for healthcare costs for employees or fund a somewhat better set of vacations for the owner. We’ll see.