WAVE 3 News Editorial - September 19, 2013: Taxing Bourbon - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

WAVE 3 News Editorial - September 19, 2013: Taxing Bourbon

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By Ken Selvaggi - email
WAVE 3 Vice President and General Manager

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Bourbon puts Kentucky on the international map. Nearly all of the bourbon produced in the world comes from the Commonwealth.

Kentucky's bourbon industry produces a million barrels a year, double what it did 15 years ago.

Bourbon takes years to age and paying high taxes on something that won't generate revenue for many years is discouraging. There are nearly five million barrels of bourbon stored in Kentucky now, the most in 30 years. Kentucky distillers pay close to $15 million a year in property taxes on these stored barrels.

We don't want to chase these distillers away or open the door for other areas of the country or world to get in on the action here because they are more tax friendly.

The bourbon tax burden is a challenge as every step of the distilling process includes taxes.  Kentucky is one of just two states that impose a wholesale and excise liquor tax, costing distillers nearly $7.00 a gallon.

Allowing distilleries to take a corporate income tax credit that would offset the amount of ad valorem taxes paid each year would be a welcome change, with the stipulation that that money would have to be put back into equipment and facilities in Kentucky.   

This would encourage expansion and investment possibilities, not harm them. It's the least we can do for such a signature industry. 

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