Your booze could soon get cheaper -- hypothetically, at least.
A bill was introduced Tuesday that would lower taxes on distilled spirits -- things like gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey -- which are taxed at a higher rate than wine and beer. The bipartisan bill (the "Distillery Innovation and Excise Tax Reform Act") was introduced by Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and co-sponsored by Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).
There's a big gap in how much different types of alcohol are taxed by the federal government. Distilled spirits are taxed at $13.50 per proof gallon (a.k.a. for the actual alcohol, not the rest of the drink), which is about 21 cents per ounce of alcohol. It's more than double that of beer, which is taxed at about 10 cents per ounce of alcohol, and wine, taxed at about 8 cents per ounce of alcohol, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The bill would drop the federal tax on spirits significantly, from its current $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 gallons and $9 after that -- which could end up saving you a buck or two.
But only a little, because we're just talking federal taxes here. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States broke down the cost of a "typical 750 ml bottle of 80 proof spirits" that cost $14.42 and found $2.14, or 15 percent, of that goes to federal taxes. You actually pay a little more for both state and local taxes and for indirect taxes.
State taxes vary from as high as $35.22 per proof gallon in Washington to nothing in Wyoming and New Hampshire. Indiana and Kentucky, the home states of the bill's original co-sponsors, have the 42nd and 17th highest state taxes, respectively.
So while the congressmen's bill is a noble effort to save the good people of these United States a couple bucks when buying whiskey, don't plan on a big discount the next time you buy a bottle of Jack -- even if Congress does somehow unite and do the American people a solid.