House takes another shot at distilleries

05/28/2010 08:09 PM

The House on Friday night passed a revenue bill with several changes the Senate made extending or offering tax breaks to businesses — except for a tax credit for distilleries.

The move ratcheted up the ongoing animosity between the House and the distillery industry after a major flare-up over a bourbon tasting bill.

The credit for distilleries was among several tax breaks the Senate attached to the revenue bill on Thursday.

“How do you give a break to an industry like that when you can’t fund schools?” House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat.

Rep. Larry Clark, a Louisville Democrat, said the House Democratic caucus discussed it and decided that it was too large a tax break to give during a time when revenue is scarce.

“We felt like it would cost us $25 million in the out-years and would have a significant impact,” he said. “Our caucus — more than the majority — said they did not want to vote on it.”

Clark said three out of the other four Senate amendments the House did approve were “House initiatives” and the decision not to approve the distillery tax break wasn’t a snub to the industry because of the bourbon bill flap.

“It was purely an economical decision,” Clark said.

- Ryan Alessi

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