WASHINGTON (AP) -- As several states consider trimming budget deficits by raising taxes on beer, liquor and wine, the industry is finding support in Congress to cut the federal excise tax on alcoholic beverages.
Already, more than 200 lawmakers seeking re-election -- many beneficiaries of the industry's political largesse -- have signed on to tax cut proposals. Industry lobbyists say if the bills do not pass this year, they hope they'll be first in line the next time Congress considers tax cuts.
"There's lots of good reasons to pursue this legislation that go beyond getting it passed," said Frank Coleman, spokesman for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
If anyone suggests raising the federal excise tax on liquor, "you already have a solid bloc of people who say, 'Your taxes are too high and/or inequitable,"' he said.
At least 18 states have raised cigarette taxes in recent months. At least 15 have considered raising alcoholic beverage taxes; of those, Alaska and Tennessee have approved increases.
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