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San Antonio Bar-Scene Luminary Jeret Peña Asks State to Suspend Collecting Liquor Taxes 

click to enlarge Jeret Peña, managing partner of the Boulevardier Group, appears on KSAT to speak to challenges bar owners face in light of reopening at 25% capacity. - SCREEN CAPTURE / KSAT
  • Screen Capture / KSAT
  • Jeret Peña, managing partner of the Boulevardier Group, appears on KSAT to speak to challenges bar owners face in light of reopening at 25% capacity.
During a TV Monday appearance Jeret Peña, the dean of San Antonio's craft cocktail scene, said the Texas Comptroller should grant tax relief to the state's drinking establishments so more can survive the pandemic.

“We don’t need a handout, we need a hand up,” Peña said during a Skype appearance on KSAT's evening newscast. “What would help is having the comptroller … relieve some of that tax burden we have.”

Peña was on the program to spread the word about what’s hitting the food and beverage industry hardest now — and what’s to come. Now that Gov. Greg Abbott has allowed bars to reopen on Friday, the former owner of Still Golden urged state and local elected officials to seek additional tax relief for those businesses.

“I understand what [Abbott’s] trying to do,” Peña said. “There’s a lot of people hurting, and I want my industry to feel like they have a shot and some hope that we can go back to a sense of normalcy.”

Even though bars can reopen at 25% capacity, that won't help them generate enough sales, Peña cautioned. He and other bar owners have proposed that Texas place a temporary suspension on the Mixed Beverage Gross Receipts tax, or MBGR, while increasing the alcohol excise tax by as little as 10 cents to offset the revenue loss.

The MGBR is set at 6.7% of every bar's sales of alcoholic beverages, ice and mixers. Bar owners, not customers, must pay the tax under state law.

“I’m not talking about permanently,” Peña said of his suspension plan. “But we’re going to need help. We need to work together in talking to our local representatives in protecting the economy and local business."

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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