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Associated Press, Published April 16 2013

Minn. alcohol tax hike will hit consumers, opponents say

ST. PAUL — Minnesota brewers and liquor lobbyists say a proposal to boost the state's alcohol taxes could tack $2 onto the cost of a 12-pack.

House Democrats have billed a hike in the state's alcohol excise tax — part of a tax package unveiled Monday — as a 7-cent-per-drink increase to help the state pay the social costs of alcoholism.

Opponents say it will compound as distributors and retailers hike their own prices to cover the increase, eventually hitting consumers.

Summit Brewing's Mark Stutrud says it would quadruple his state tax bill, from $550,000 annually to about $2.3 million.

Tax Committee Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski says the final bill will ensure that microbreweries don't see a tax increase and will hold down the increase for big Minnesota brewers like Summit.

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