What We’re Watching: SB 181

We’ve crossed the halfway point in the 2024 legislative session and the coming weeks will be critical for bills moving through the process. This week, the Colorado Chamber’s Government Affairs Council took an “opposed” position on SB 181, a late-filed bill that would create a new “fee” on alcohol products.

The fees would be imposed on manufacturers and wholesalers that distribute alcohol in Colorado. The intent is to fund a new state-run alcohol impact and recovery enterprise.

These new fees would add about $1.21 per liter to the sale of liquor, $0.16 per gallon of beer and cider, and $0.15 per liter of wine. It represents a significant increase on top of Colorado’s current excise tax on alcohol products and would inevitably be passed down to consumers both in retail stores and restaurants. Not only would a proposal like this chip away at Colorado’s vibrant brewery scene and local businesses, but it also could lead to stifled growth in the industry and jeopardize jobs across the state.

Coloradans are already facing significant inflation on everyday products and our cost of living is among the highest in the nation. While we recognize the intent to boost public health services related to substance abuse, a fee on the business community is the wrong approach.

SB 181 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee on April 9th.