Disability Advocates Are Proponents For Higher Alcohol Tax

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–The fight over a higher alcohol tax is pitting bar owners and liquor stores against a very vulnerable group.

Suzanne Collins explains if the tax goes up, that money would fund programs for the disabled.

The halls of state government were filled with disabled people Thursday. One man has waited five years for help building a handicapped bathroom. One mother has waited just as long for help to pay for special daycare for her autistic son.

“My son has had lots of gastrointestinal problems, which has required many hospitalizations. He has a feeding tube to help sustain his weight. He has 28 food allergies,” said Pam Talley, of Laurel.

Disabled advocates say the state budget for those services has dropped by millions of dollars over the last three years. Right now 5,300 people are on a waiting list with 1,100 in crisis or soon to be.

Proponents’ pins say “ten cents for a drink makes sense,” but opponents say it will cost much more at the liquor store.

You’ll see a sign opposing an alcohol tax increase outside Wells Liquors in Baltimore. It explains that a bottle of liquor could cost about $4.25 more.

Microbreweries were just one group speaking against the bill.

“I want the owners of the brewery I work at to profit,” said Tom Flores, brewmaster, Brewers Alley. “I want them to prosper because as they prosper my family and I prosper as well. I want to stay employed.”

“Restaurants and the hospitality industry are very vulnerable to price increases,” said Gary Brooks, Barley and Hops Brewery. “And this is just an unfair attack on one industry. If this truly is a Maryland problem then all Maryland should be paying for it.”

Churches were there to speak for the alcohol tax, while local tourism agencies spoke against it.

  • jim

    WE are being taxed to death in this state.I Can’t sit down in my chair at night after working 10 hr and drink a beer without paying a dammmm tax to this state.
    What part of no more taxes dose this state not under stand!!!!!

  • kinghenry

    It’s not 10 cents a drink, it’s more like a few dollars more per bottle of booze. Stop the lying Martin. Remember the sales tax that went from 5% to 6% a few yrs ago & O Malley said it was only a penny increase? Bull..s…t, 5-to 6 is a 20% increase. They really are insulting us & we are stuck with these people fro another four years.

  • Jogar

    Not Omalley’s fault.It’s the jerks that keep putting the same people in office election after election.Wake up Maryland stop complaing and star using your vote intelligently.If you don’t like the taxes elect someone that’ll listen to you.You could also move.Personnaly I’m for a tax that finally goes to a good caude.They should use the lottery money for this though,the stadium authority is raping the people and what astupid thing to spend all that money on,like the orioles or ravens need it.

  • Tom Flores

    This report claimed that churches were present for this debate. If I remember correctly, the only church that showed up today was the Unitarian Universalists. All the others that signed up were absent when called by the Chair of the Committee.

  • Ernie

    If the church people are in so much favor of the tax, then let the people who go to church and drink pay the extra tax. Leave everybody else alone.

  • Squaregrouper

    What do alcohol and disabilities have to do with each other? Our govt. is trying to pass another tax under the guise it will help the disabled so they will get voter support. We have seen this before, yet we continue to fall for the same BS they are feeding us.


    I know and see people every day that are able to work, but the state gives them a check every month, pay their rent and utilities because they go to some quack doctor and get disability. People committing fraud with their health and mental claims get a check every month and no one check on them. Our elected officials should have a system where these crooks can get caught. I get up and go to work every day and see this same people hanging out all day getting drunk or high and bragging about getting theirs. It’s about time this madness stops, don’t raise or impose new taxes on me for these bums. Enoug is Enough.

  • Mike

    The truth of the matter is, programs in Maryland for people with “REAL” Developmental Disabilities have become seriously underfunded over the past few years as a result of this economy. Each year new budget cuts are implemented for these non-profit groups while operational costs are steadily going up. The Social Services workers’ (employees) who directly support these programs don’t make a living wage. Often they can’t afford to remain employed by these Programs because the wages are so low they can’t afford housing and the commute back and forth to work. I’ve even proposed that the Social Services Worker be tax exempt, but who’s listening to that? The real problem is, most people (Politicians included) just don’t value disadvantaged people in general….from the dedicated Workers, to the people who truly need their support.

  • kinghenry

    Mike, In a real good world I wouldn’t have a problem with this but you & I know these monies will disappear into the general fund to be spent on whatever the whims of the politicans are. I also am very angry that they introduce a bill & wrap this social program around it. This is typical of all political parties & I for one will fight it.

    • peter

      Kinghenry: Your opinion, BUT the REALITY, this bill with its DIME-A-DRINK will be DEDICATED to those MOST NEEDY citizens in our state who have been ignored and cast off by our system. There is a WAITING LIST’ of over 5000 people with developmental disabilities in Maryland; people need help!
      The bill was created NOT by politicians, but by Mrs. Loraine Sheehan, the wonderful volunteer and mom of a son with disabilities as a way to get some funds to help these people.
      As alcohol is the #1 cause of disabilities, it is right that this tax to help generate some funds the disabled come from alcohol.
      The advocates fighting for this money will ensure that the funds are DEDICATED to only this purpose! We ask you for your support, PLEASE!

      • overtaxed

        Oh please, the CULTURE OF CORRUPTION (Maryland democrats, remember) will spend the money however they please just like they did with the lottery, which was to be dedicated to education and now funds stadiums so team owners can get richer, the gas taxes that get STOLEN and not used for transportation.

        You are trusting the wrong folks, and WE THE TAXPAYER gets shafted yet again

  • pigeon

    You think this is bad – just wait ’til they put toll booths on the beltway – and, trust me, they will find a way to do it.
    What happen to all the toll money that was to pay for road repairs and education in our schools? Same goes for the lottery. NOT ONE DAMN PERSON IN CHARGE OF THESE REVENUES HAS EVER BEEN CALLED ON TO ACCOUNT FOR ALL THE MONIES THAT HAVE BEEN GENERATED! That money sure as heck has not made it to the programs it was intended.
    Think about it!

  • bernard F Mc Kernan

    Pigeon, Another sleepless night for you?….Better examine your conscience. Yoll roads on the beltway? Never.

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