Utah lawmakers discuss proposal to raise beer tax

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers gathered Wednesday to discuss a proposal that would raise the beer tax in Utah.

Binge drinking among teens is a big concern for them Utah leaders. Several lawmakers  cited a recent study by Utah health leaders that reports that teens in Utah tend to drink more than their peers in other states across the country.

One Utah lawmaker believes he has the solution. Rep. Jack Draxler said he plans to roll out a bill that will essentially tie the beer tax to inflation. His theory is that if prices for beer go up, consumption will go down.

Proponents of the bill claim the state is paying a high price socially and economically. They said there are 419 alcohol related deaths in Utah involving people under the age of 21.

Opponents argue that personal responsibility needs to be at play, and it’s unfair to pin the problem just on the beer industry.