On March 18th the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau waived some of the regulations associated with distilled spirits to allow them to make hand sanitizer in an effort to curb the national shortage. In addition, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed on March 25th eliminated the federal excise tax on distilled spirits used for the production of hand sanitizer. Both are great examples of how regulations and taxes in a time of crisis can hinder the public good and ought to be suspended.
Nebraska should follow the federal government’s lead by implementing supply-side economic solutions to the national shortage of hand sanitizer. If there are any distillery regulations in Nebraska hindering the ability to make hand sanitizer, they should be lifted immediately. In addition, the state needs to also suspend the state’s excise tax on distilled spirits for the production of hand sanitizer.
Nebraska can not only be a leader in helping curb the national hand sanitizer shortage, but also help small businesses find a way to operate and continue to pay their employees without the burden of regulations and taxes during this crisis.