It may be hard to believe after three years of Gov. Murphy hiking taxes, increasing spending and taking on debt like there is no tomorrow, but there is a chance to cut taxes in New Jersey.

As the legislature wrangles with the state budget, there is a proposal to reduce the tax on beverages with less than 9.9% alcohol-by-volume, like seltzers, to match the rate on beer products. Really, this policy just taxes alcohol content the same for products that are very similar.

It likely makes sense to any consumer that these products would be taxed the same, but the current rates are wildly different. Non-beer products are taxed at a rate of $5.50 a gallon, compared to 12-cents a gallon for beer.

That is a more than 450% difference, a significant tax cut. It is necessary given the absurdly high tax burden on seltzers, ciders and similar drinks is making it difficult for producers to make ends meet.  

This is a win for businesses and New Jersey consumers. It’s a rare chance for Jersey residents to pay less for products thanks to the tax rate going down instead of the usual up. Adding to the very welcome surprise is that the bill has bipartisan support, and has been introduced by Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Republican Senator, and Taxpayer Protection Pledge-signer, Anthony Bucco said at a hearing, “It’s not often, as a Republican, we see bills coming through to cut taxes… So, I understand your concerns, but whenever we get a chance to cut the taxes here in the state, we like to do that.”

New Jerseyans should spring at this opportunity, and urge their legislators to support cutting the tax on these low alcohol content beverages.

You can find your Senator and Assembly member contact info at the state legislature’s website, let them know you support cutting taxes on canned cocktails.