Jack Daniel’s is a popular American whiskey, produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee since 1875. Lynchburg sits in Moore County, which had a population of only 6,362 in 2010.
Like many counties throughout the country, Moore County is facing a budget deficit. The Associated Press is reporting that the Moore County Council passed a measure asking the Tennessee legislature to authorize a referendum that would require the Jack Daniels Distillery to pay a “barrel tax” of up to $5 million annually to the local government.
It is noteworthy—perhaps even ironic—that Moore Country is a dry county: The whiskey can’t be sold where it is made. Furthermore, the distillery already pays $1.5 million in property taxes each year. Proponents of the measure rebut these points by highlighting that the folks of Lynchburg have played a significant role in developing the worldwide value of the liquor’s brand.
Not all Tennessee legislators are on board with the measure. State Rep. Debra Maggart, chairwoman of the Republican majority in the Tennessee House of Representatives, puts it concisely: “No taxes will be raised on our job creators.”
The proposal will head to the Tennessee General Assembly early next year. If it survives there, then we could see a referendum as soon as next November.
Would consumers be forced to imbibe this tax binge? Consider the eloquent words from the whiskey originator himself, Mr. Jack Daniel: “Every day we make it, we’ll make it the best we can.”