Adequate staffing at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is vital to the wine industry in terms of ensuring timely licensing and label approvals so the businesses may proceed, and the past appropriations need to be continued.
The Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bills included $106,000,000 in direct appropriations funding for TTB. This was $5,000,000 more than what the Obama Administration's FY 2016 budget requested, and was specifically dedicated to label and formula approvals. WineAmerica and our alcohol industry partners worked to secure the increased funding for TTB to adequately meet the regulatory demands of an ever-growing alcohol beverage industry.
Appropriate funding will ensure that TTB can maintain the personnel necessary to conduct its responsibilities as the nation’s primary federal alcohol regulator. TTB has long endured a shrinking full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce despite a marked increase in the number of licensed manufacturers and wholesalers. Since 2007, TTB’s workforce has shrunk by 10% - losing more than 50 full-time positions – resulting in a direct, negative impact on the businesses that depend on it to operate and grow.
The additional funding included in the FY 2016 appropriations bills has allowed TTB to hire additional staff and decrease the turnaround times on Certificate of Label Approvals (COLAs). The current appropriations funding maintains the $106,000,000. WineAmerica and Winegrape Growers of America support a fully funded and functional TTB, with funding maintained at this level.