Wednesday, February 15, 2012

TTB survives, though Obama wants to give IRS a little of its powers

The TTB will survive in its current form for at least another year. While the Obama administration considered eliminating it and dividing its duties between the FDA and the IRS, when the budget proposal came out Monday, that idea was not in it.

However, the administration did propose what seems to me a minor change, allowing the IRS to initiate investigations and prosecutions for excise tax violations on alcohol sales.

The Wine Institute was ready with heavy artillery to fight this. I have a copy of a letter the Wine Institute got signed by seven U.S. senators opposing this move. Wine America opposes it also.

Quite honestly, I'm not sure why. It doesn't seem like a big deal. But the Wine Institute spends a lot more time thinking about excise tax than I do. I plan to contact the Wine Institute as soon as I get home from Portugal (lucky me) to get more details.

For now, I felt like I owed you this update, considering more than 10,000 people came to my blog when I broke the news that the administration was considering eliminating the TTB this year.

I also want to snivel and whine and make excuses for a very light week on the blog. Here's my tale of woe: I set up two posts for this week, one imaginative, and one which I spent a day researching. Then I made the mistake of opening them to make last minute tweaks in Portugal with my iPad, which is not compatible with Blogger. They disappeared instantly. Man, did that suck. I know I can't expect a lot of sympathy since I'm eating roast pig leg and grilled razor clams and drinking outstanding single variety Vinho Verdes that I didn't even know existed. But still, that sucked.

Update: It just happened again, twice, with this post. Even I don't deserve this. I don't know which to blame, Apple or Google. I hate them both right now.

I plan to reconstruct the posts when I get home (spoiler alert: politics and baseball, my two favorite things to try to link to wine), as well as check in with the Wine Institute on the TTB thing. So thanks for reading this off-the-cuff update. I'll bring you more details when I have them. And pass the Loureiro.


Please check out my Valentine's Day anti-column on Palate Press: Let's Take the Romance Out of Wine. Appropriately, I spent V-Day apart from my lovely wife, and the rural restaurant where I dined -- where every table other than the wine group's was set for two with candles and hearts -- played "All By Myself" over and over. Maybe they just like the melody?


I rarely acknowledge my wife on the blog, but I'm writing this on V-Day. I love travel, I'm having a great time, I'm eating and drinking well and the story's really interesting. But I miss her. Ai shite iru.
Follow me on Twitter: @wblakegray and like The Gray Report on Facebook.


Tom said...

Maybe turning enforcement over to the IRS will free up some people to do label approvals? Or am I just dreaming?

I have to agree with you, I don't see what the big deal is about a possible move to FDA -- other than that everyone will have to have new lobbying channels and take the time to make new relationships.

Anonymous said...

Uhh, they will probably want wineries to comply with food laws as if they contain potential human pathogens. Many states have laws exempting wineries, etc. from food safety regulation. It would kill artisan winemaking and subject wineries to untold amounts of money to comply. Would put small wineries out of business most likely, would favor larger production oriented wineries that really have no creativity. they would likely be for this. It has happened in other industries and here it makes no sense at all. In Europe they are doing the opposite trying to throw off Agricultural restrictions in other areas that limit there ability to compete in the world. You have to be kidding if you think this has any possible positive out come for quality wine production.

Francly Speaking said...

I suspect it is a situation of 'the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know'. As an artisanal winemaker it still bogs my mind that we spend so much time on compliance, licensing & bonding. Currently, just to operate we must maintain 10 separate licenses. That does not include exporting to the other 49 United States! With the reputation of the IRS and FDA - I don't blame an objection to having to take on two to do the job [albeit slow] that one agency has done.

Tim Elliott | Winecast said...

As far as blogging on your iPad, the best $5 you spend might just be for Blogsy:

Anonymous said...

Kane's Beverage Daily actually had the scoop on 12/20/2011.