Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pathetic Parliament

To all our Italian brewing friends, we are sad to hear about the unfair taxes levied on you today. It is appalling that you should have a 33% hike that, since 2004, has totaled in excess of 114% tax increase on your tiny businesses while the tax increase on wine has remained zero. This is truly a symptom of poor governance that chooses to bully the smaller guy and give preferential treatment to big industries rather than confront them. Sadly, it might be at the cost of so many young businesses who, if given the chance, would have taken advantage of the incremental growth their industry has fostered and hired locally, produced more revenue and continued to increase tourism.

The specter of a tax increase has been hanging over the heads of the small brewers for a while now, but today the guillotine has fallen. Even though many breweries had been resigned to the tax hike, the news is a big blow. In the end, it will affect the consumers since beer in Italy will now cost even more. The tax hike will happen in three increments, starting October 10, 2013, then again on January 1, 2014 and once more on January 1, 2015. The excise tax will go from 2.33 to 2.70 euros per hectoliter per degrees plato (the unit of measurement of the density of beer for its immediate use), plus the 1% increase tacked on this year on the VAT. 

The saddest part is that this increase has fallen heavily on the shoulders of the craft brewers to cover school taxes. This industry is one of the few growing sectors in the crashing Italian economy; yet, putting the burden on the craft brewers was the simplest way for the Italian government to take the €448 million with the least amount of criticism and fight. In short, the Italian government continues to take from the weak, instead of confronting the rich.

If there was ever a time that Italians should work together, the time is now. Put aside your disagreements and unite. No industry, no small business, nor, especially, should hard working entrepreneurs be subjected to bullying by their government. The brewers owe it to their consumers to fight this increase. We just hope that it’s not a little too late. But in the end, how does a mouse topple an elephant, especially one that is steadfast on stomping you out rather than face the poacher—big industries.

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