January 10, 2013

Missouri Shall Cut No Tax Credit Before Its Time

My attempts to seem cultured and refined — and to impress my betters — often lead me to resort to pretending that I am some kind of amateur sommelier. Now, I know almost nothing about wine. It comes from grapes, right? However, I do know that no matter how much I might actually like wine — and given current events, I tend to like wine a lot — the state should not be subsidizing the industry.

This is not the first time I have written about the state subsidizing the wine industry. My first (self-given) award-winning post dealt with the Missouri Wine & Grape Board. Now, I am training my attention on the Wine Producers and Grape Growers Tax Credit. In fiscal year 2012, the state issued more than $100,000 in these credits and wine producers are worried that lawmakers will cut the program due to state revenue shortages.

I am all for a flourishing wine industry in the state. I love going to Hermann for Oktoberfest. However, I do not think a tax credit is necessary for wineries to succeed. Mount Pleasant Winery, St. James Winery, and Stone Hill Winery are among the largest wineries in the state. Mount Pleasant reopened in 1966, St. James was founded in 1970, and Stone Hill has been in the hands of its current owners since 1965. The Wine and Grape Tax Credit was created in 1999. These wineries managed to stay in business for decades without the assistance of this tax credit. Going even further back, Missouri had the second-largest wine industry in the country before Prohibition.

I truly want the wine industry in Missouri to succeed yet I do not want the government to subsidize it. Let wine consumers support our wine industry, not taxpayers.

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