Battle lines are drawn for brewery tax bill SB314 after contentious town hall

The Friday revelation that members of the New Mexico state legislature were pursuing an increase in excise taxes caught many of us by surprise. Senate Bill 314, an updated version of the same legislation proposed by the neo-prohibitionist group Alcohol Taxes Save Lives and Money, was dropped on an unsuspecting public by State Senator Cisco McSorley, a Democrat whose district includes Nob Hill.

McSorley invited the the public to a town hall meeting at Nob Hill church on Sunday afternoon, prior to the Super Bowl, to discuss all the items he and Democrats from the House of Representatives are dealing with during the current 60-day session. A crowd estimated at 300 people, many of them wearing New Mexico Brewers Guild shirts reading “Support Local Beer,” showed up.

It was contentious from the get-go. As McSorley began speaking of how SB314 would not harm local breweries, La Cumbre owner Jeff Erway yelled “Liar!” prompting a hostile response from the senator, who threatened to have him thrown out if Jeff interrupted again.

“Excuse me! EXCUSE ME, SIR! If you do not shut up, you’re going to have to leave!” McSorley retorted. “You’re allowed to ask questions, but you have to be polite! Do you understand? Do you understand?”

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Sierra County citizens interested in commenting on the proposal on should contact their elected officials: