Distillery tax will crush fledgling Johnstown biz, says MPP

In this Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 photo provided by MPP Steve Clark's office, Clark speaks during a news conference at Queen’s Park with Charles Benoit, President of the Ontario Craft Distillers Association. Clark sas a new distillery tax contained in Bill 70 will have a devastating effect on Ontario’s craft distilleries. (MPP Steve Clark via Newswatch Group)

QUEEN’S PARK – Local MPP Steve Clark believes the Liberals proposed distillery tax will crush a new spirit-making business in Johnstown.

During a news conference Tuesday, Clark expressed disappointment the Liberals would not entertain an amendment to Bill 70, which would have allowed craft distillers to sell up to 1,250 liters tax-free in their own stores.

“They just needed a government willing to come to the table as a partner, not one that pretends to listen and slaps them with a crippling tax to force them out of business,” Clark said.

Clark says the new tax measure in Bill 70 will impose an immediate 61.5 per cent sales tax on Ontario craft distillers, including King’s Lock Craft Distillers in Johnstown, Ont.

King’s Lock Craft Distillery at 5 Newport Drive, opened its doors officially on Aug. 25, 2016.

Clark calls it a regressive tax that will force many small distillers out of business.

The MPP was joined by Charles Benoit, president of the Ontario Craft Distillers Association, which is shocked with the government measure and had wanted a graduated tax plan.

Clark has proposed a graduated tax in his private members bill – Free My Rye Act – a model adopted in B.C.

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