Alcohol May Come With A New Kind Of High:Taxes

Alcohol may soon come with a new kind of high. It’s not stronger proof. It’s a higher tax.

Alex DeMetrick reports supporters of a “Dime a Drink Tax” think they have a shot at making it happen in Maryland.

If you like to pull a cork, you might pay an extra 10 cents for every glass.

It’s called the “Dime a Drink Tax,” and it would hit all alcoholic drinks, if Maryland’s legislature approves it this year.

For supporters like health care providers, this may be a good thing.

“Alcohol excise tax is a win-win for the state. They provide much needed revenue, and reduce alcohol consumption and related problems,” said David Jernigan, Johns Hopkins professor.

But an increase at restaurants and bars may not be such a good thing. Good times stopped rolling during the recession and business coming back now is still viewed as fragile.

“We’re still in this economic recession right now, and anything more is going to take people out of restaurants in Baltimore and Maryland. And that’s not good for the economy,” said Bill Irvin, Kooper’s Tavern.

The tax would also hit retailers, upping a six-pack by 60 cents and wine and spirits by a dime a serving.

“Some 44 percent of Marylanders do not drink. They will pay no tax,” said Jernigan.

The “Dime a Drink Tax” could raise $215 million in new revenue.

For light to moderate drinkers, the tax would amount to only $10.83 per year.

The last time Maryland raised the tax on alcohol was in 1972.

More from Alex DeMetrick
  • Doug

    I would like to see Pot legalized,with the same laws as alcohol,then taxed heavily.
    This would satisfy both parties.
    Instead of spending billions to ” Combat” pot use,
    We could take in billions in revenue.
    Either way,the same amount of pot will be grown ans consumed,
    in this once great nation of ours.

    • AH

      Typical liberal response. The Gov needs the revenue so they can go on speding with abandon. It matters not what amount of money we give them, they will spend more. Cut off ANY extra revenue and make these “public servants” make the choices we send them to office to make.

      • bwe

        THIS is the real answer to the problem but no one dares follow up on. The more they can wrench out of your pocket the more they (presumably) spend or pocket or something. All these new taxes and, if I’m not mistaken, they are tax exempt, go figure.

    • W

      I agree with Doug.

      • RT

        I write to my delegates every year about that. Last year when the legislature was discussing medical pot, I told my reps, why just medical, why not go all the way. We would be the first state to do it setting up a Pot Gold rush. You want to talk about bringing in TAXES, being the first state in the Union to legalize weed would be a gold mine. Getting in late would mean lost chances at revenue. We’re already losing to California with their VERY LIBERAL Medical Pot law. It’s time for us to get a piece of the Pie or should I say Pot.

    • Travis

      Couldn’t agree with you more Doug.

    • dan

      Actually a high tax will simply provide a reason for illegal drug sales, and all the associating problems, to continue. And there’s more than two parties.

      • Juan

        Actually, Bill, cigarettes are routinely stolen, both in violent armed robberies, and in organized crime fashion, and sold on the black market.

      • Bill

        I guess your statement is based on all the illegal contra-band cigarette sales and all the associating problems – considering the enormous federal and state taxes on each pack of cigarettes? You don’t know what you are talking about – just another fear-monger.

    • Mary

      Couldn’t disagree more. Why make the state more money? So what, it can get bigger at wasting it? The concept of raising more revenue from taxing higher is short term thinking. In the long run, taxes ended up hurting the state’s budget since businesses and consumers do more things to avoid paying the taxes. When you reduce taxes, more business is created & more revenues come in as a result. As states across the nation are raising taxes, they’re also cutting services. What exactly is this “new” revenue for-certainly not to serve the average citizen. Besides, to make the argument that taxing “sinful” behaviour is moral because one can collect money from it, only justifies the so-called sinful behaviour to begin with.

      • James Brazzle

        I disagree that is sinful behavior in the first place, we fundamentally diasgree on the ground floor.

      • chipgiii

        I do agree that keeping it illegal is pretty silly these days; but I also agree that giving wasteful polilticians more money isn’t the answer: they will simply spend more and five years from now Maryland at best will be in the same place. Until things are “leaned” out, waste cut, pet state projects removed, etc., giving politicians more money is like asking the alcoholic if he wants one on the house.

      • JaniceK

        I agree with your premise that giving the State more money is the wrong thing to do. The State needs to find ways to live within its means…like I do, and you do. Stop trying to find more sources of revenue, and instead try living within your income!

      • The Modern Man

        Keep your sin to yourself. Silly superstitions.

    • Hamish

      Our last three presidents have all admitted to having a toke. Bush’s team ran the ludicrous ‘this is the pot you bought from a terrorist’ PSA during a Super Bowl. Whenever I ask my baby boomer older kin about to retire about this subject, I always hear “OMG, could you imagine having to worry about if your doctor or bus driver were stoned” without any thought to the equally relevant “You don’t worry about this with alcohol?” question cropping up? Yeah, I’m really tired of the hypocrisy from all sides on this subject. Last time I checked, Holland was still in existence.

    • Corrie Everhart

      Amen! I agree… not that I ever smoked it in my life but I don’t see pot as a bad thing.

      • billyjax

        The new tax form coming:

        How much did you Make?

        Send it all in.

    • PhatBoy

      Oh be serious already… You legalize pot and how many folks do you think are going to buy the taxed version and not grow it themselves. Why do you think the big push in the PRC (Peoples Republic of California) failed. The big growers up north were against it because EVERYONE WOULD BE GROWING THEIR OWN!!!!


      • Elmo

        I dont see anyone rushing out to grow there own raspberries yet and those are like $4.00 a bite at the local grocery store.

      • Pasadena Mike

        I think most people would be willing to pay the tax for the immediate convenience of buying it at the store. If your theory was correct, wouldn’t there be a much larger population brewing their own beer or distilling their own spirits? While it would remain an option, I don’t see the downside of the tax as a great enough incentive to attempt growing it at home.

      • Jed3d

        Not so. You can brew your own beer and wine, but only a handful of people do it. A professionally crafted beer is highly sought after. I would expect the same of a professionally crafted bud….

      • peyton

        I wouldn’t.. I’d be happy to pay to get a license and also pay the high tax if it was legally sold at a store.

    • oldtexas

      We don”t tax drinks or income in Texas! Come on down and bring your company too!

      • Mike

        Actually, Texas does have a tax on alcohol, albeit at a fairly low rate.

    • leroy

      I agree……..
      no one ever smoked a joint and then went home and beat up their spouse,
      awoke in bed with a stranger…..
      “came out of a blackout” in another STATE
      The hypocrasy here is off the charts.

    • Bob

      CORRECT !

    • John

      Govt sells and tax the weed. Just think how much money local police would save.

    • Armed Texan

      The DEA and the prison systems are big government businesses, and legalization would hurt them so it won’t happen. Hey libbies, gotta keep growing the government, right?

    • McBain

      Pot would still be considered “smoking”, would it not? Meaning you could not smoke pot in bars or in restaurants.

    • Magnum

      I can’t disagree with Doug. However, if all illegal drugs were suddenly declared legal, the tens of thousands of people whose jobs and careers depend on “fighting the war on drugs” would suddenly be in an uproar and oppose it. I refer to the councilors, law enforcement, lawyers, court staff,etc, etc, etc. Human nature being what it is, people will always agree with a good sounding idea, so long as it doesn’t impact them in a negative manner.

    • Kendrick1

      Great idea!!! Have you seen the movie “Traffic”, in which Michael Douglas’ South American counterpart gives his country’s solution for rehabilitation of druggies?

    • GozieBoy

      Doug, you ignorant $lut! This will merely continue the incentive for drug smuggling gangs. Typical loony lib Dem approach to life. Tax everything you can possibly think of, and then worry (or, more likely, not worry) about the unintended consequences later!

    • giant brain

      Why should it be taxed heavily?

    • RJ

      Tell ya what? Get all the pot smokers twho want it leagalized here own state and lets see the productivity and how effective and efficient their state goverment operates. And lets then see what their rate of lung cancer is compared to the rest of the non-pot-smoking states. Just because it may have a smaller less damaging record on society than alcohol does not mean it is any less dangerous to your physical and mental health. Yes, you can all tell me about your grandfather who is 95 who still smokes it, but he is not the majority.

      • Educate yourself before you fart

        yes I am and if your an alcoholic 20 years my minor then I probably still look 10 years younger than you do. Own a house, diesil sucking luxury truck, business owner for 17 years, one kid in college….nah ive done pretty well being a lifelong “pothead”….I guess the other benefit is that Im not prone to shooting people and I dont smell like vomit.

    • Aaron

      Uncle Sam’s horribly obese and bloated body needs to be starved until it’s fat has been consumed.

    • chris

      sounds good, until you consider that in the areas of california that marijuana is basically decriminalized, the crime rate is through the roof.same in vancouver, amsterdam.all the areas where people grow pot, they have to protect their crops with guns.i like guns, but dont want a need to use them frequently you know. i read a report about people having their homes ransacked regularly by people searching for pot.the police cant keep up, so basically nothing is done.which opens up the door to many other crimes.i like pot, but we need to consider the very bad affects on society.i wish it were a simple as legalize it, smoke it, eat cheetos.but its not.

    • AreYouKiddingMe

      That’s what we need more jack holes high on weed driving around. Most people can’t drive as it is; now we get to deal with sock puppets high on pot. Welcome to Maryland the demolition derby state.

      • pleasethink beforeyoufart

        your obviously a blind & ignorant alcoholic

    • Casey

      I live in Colorado where medical marijuana has been approved. Because of this, the state is taking in additional revenue from taxes that we wouldn’t have received otherwise. BEsides, there is much worse out there than pot or alcohol.

    • Becky Hauser

      I agree.

  • Jason

    Dumb. Now people will “make it a double” which is already cheaper than two separate ones. So now people will over drink, leading to more DUI, more drunken behavior. If any tax is passed it needs to be uniform per volume or proof.

    • Scratch

      I would not be surprised in the least to see a “double” taxed twice. If a sixpack of beer is taxed 60 cents, how many “servings” are in a bottle of liquor? You’re easily talking a couple bucks more tax per bottle. And twenty cents for a double at the bar.

  • old14spice

    Its another January and Owemalley with Mike Miller are pondering ways to male marylanders pay! We didnt hear any of this during the election. More new or increased tases are on the way…Food & bottle, Gas, ect ect ect! Owemalleys only solution!

  • G

    Who didn’t see this coming!! Whats next..

  • Jenn Brooklyn Park MD HON!

    Legalize pot i’d be the first in line for my TAX stamp!

  • Russ

    The legistalture needs to figure out ways to stop careless spending programs. The government was never suppose to be the helping hand for everyone. Instead of coming up with creative ideas to tax their citizens come up with ideas to reduce the state budget….. Business learn to deal with less operating revenues will the state needs to come up with a balance budget admenment and stop spending

  • Russ

    I also agree with Jenn from Brooklyn the state wants to tax something then legalize drugs and tax them. There is certainly enough untaxed revenue on the streets of Baltimore to pay for all sorts of social programs for the drug addicts

  • JIM


    • Sheree Lynn

      This is the first comment that makes sense, I fully agree Jim

  • Michael

    Aren’t you glad you voted for O’Mally and hid democrat boys/girls now? It’s comical how as the years go by, Baltimoreans continue to complain about the government and their imposed changed. When the opportunity comes around and they have the opportunity to make a governmental change, they do nothing or just vote along party lines. WAKE UP please. The only electoral vote that we Americans get is in our local and state governments, not federal. People preach get out and “Rock the vote” or what have you during federal campaigns, but seriously, your vote does not count then. Popular vote does not elect a President. It is the popular vote which elects you local county council or your state government.

    Continue voting (or not) along the same path and you will continue to see the same results.

  • Bill

    The Bar And Restuarants are among the hardest hit during these financial times.. Why do the politicians want to slow their recovery even more with these taxes? They will claim the money is going for our children and then spend it however they want.

  • Hermann Meyer

    Everybody should understand that:
    – We are all passive drinkers, as the World Health Organization tells us. We suffer under reduced life quality and pay the whole life long terrific amounts for social costs because of alcohol.
    – Alcohol taxes are very low and do not cover the social costs. By inflation it gets always cheaper. Since 1972!
    – Higher prices mean less harm from alcohol, less social costs: savings.
    – Those who drink moderately or not at all have the most profit. No or little more taxes and the lot of profit.
    – Taxes should be combined with inflation annualy.

    • Greg

      Right on! Let’s legislate morality thru higher taxes! Those SINNERS!

    • liberty

      herman, you are part of the problem

    • GoldenRudy

      Herman … lay off the bottle will ya? WHO … really? You buy global warming too, no doubt. The WHO would like the USA to send all of its money to them so they can make us 100% healthy.

  • MMD

    Balto. City, P.G. and Montgomery Counties. Cosmic justice so well deserved!!!

  • MMD

    Maybe next Annapolis will start imposing taxes on buying lottery tickets and sfratch offs. Kindda of hits you where you live, doesn’t it.

  • Amanda

    Evil totalitarians.

  • Joe Sanders

    Hahaha us smokers are laughing now… they are coming for your booze now.. lol Welcome to Obamacare.. hahahaha

    • LaughingOutLoud

      SECOND THAT JOE! I am smoker and find this too funny….Oh yeah tax the Booze and they should also raise taxes on them snacks alittle more. Still better yet, the FAST FOOD….Still too many morbidly obese people ! Look how many fatties they could profit off of???

    • Jack

      Joe, where’s your brain? The 10 cents a drink tax has nothing to do with Obama care.

  • GIL

    next it will be coffee, next tea, next soft drinks,next milk, next coco, next candy bars, next water, then toothpaste—where do we stop???????????

    • Michelle's Diet

      Yes! All those sin taxes! Don’t forget fat, sugar, etc…! Then, lets get to the vegetables and pasta, rice….

  • wilson

    Why stop there? Hit the drinkers with a 50-cent per drink tax….as a starting point!

    Maybe it’ll help cut down on domestic violence, teen drinking, maming and deaths on our roadways, and other crimes.

    If higher taxes on smokes will cause people to quit, maybe higher taxes on booze will result in less alcoholics.

    • Lori

      How will it cut down on teen drinking?

    • TEA 4 ME

      Why stop there? Let’s tax the heck out of water too! Our government needs revenue!

  • Don Hinds

    This may be a “dime a drink”, but it’s actually a tax increase of several hundred percent. It will also clobber microbreweries and small wine makers across the state of Maryland. But what’s a few jobs lost compared to the social justice that will result from this bill? Those few losers can just go on unemployment, right?

  • Dougs wrong

    Ah yes, the old “let’s tax pot” argument. How in the world can anyone tax something that is as easy to grow as a houseplant? The moment the legalize it, everyone grows it for their own use, and how would they tax you on something you are growing in your own house? I guess we could suggest then, that the govt has the right to enter house to check if anyone is growing it… for “taxing”purposes. They should stick with making it illegal if they want more revenue, at least that way they make money on the fines. You potheads need a better argument for pot rather than, ‘let’s tax it”. Besides, the pothead “laugh” is annoying as all get out.

    • Chris

      Cannabis is much more difficult to grow indoors than a houseplant. Special lights, and light/dark times need to be controlled to induce flowering (growing of buds). It would be WAY easier for the average person to go to the store to acquire various professionally grown strains.

  • Al Hates O.Malley

    Martin O’Taxme back to his old tricks.

    • LaughingOutLoud

      Hey Al, Don’t ya mean “OWE-MALLEY”?

  • WyoDutch

    Thank the Good Lord for putting so many miles between me in Wyoming the crackpots in the greedy Eastern states.

  • DavosSherman

    All the money we make from January 1 until August 15th goes to taxes.

    These people fail to understand that consumers can not consume with 4 1/2 months of income. Wages that are flat – as in wages haven’t gone up since the 1970s.

    Tax people all you want – the economy WILL circle the drain, unemployment will rise above the existing 22%.

    • Mathlete

      I assume you mean April 15th? That sounds about right.

  • Mike

    That’s what we Tennesseans call a “sin tax”.

  • sans culottes

    Time for a tax strike. Buy no liquor wine or beer in Maryland during the 90 day legislative session. Stock up in Delaware, Virginia ,PA, or DC. Order iced tea in restaurants – Let’s go tea-baggin!
    V for Vendetta.

  • Jlou

    They hope to raise money by putting a tax on an item. By putting the tax on the item, they hope people will purchase less of it. What kind of stupid math is that? Oh, yeah, LIBERAL Math…

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