ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Your next beer is likely going to cost you more money. Maryland lawmakers are moving closer to approving higher taxes on alcoholic drinks.

Kai Jackson explains why some say the tax is necessary.

An increase in Maryland’s alcohol tax isn’t a done deal, but those keeping score say it’s pretty close.

Food may fill your stomach, but alcohol sales in many bars and restaurants pay the bills for business owners.

When asked if she thought about an alcohol tax when she comes into a bar, Lachele Kellam Ervin said: “At this point, no. But since it was in the news, we discussed it.”

Drinkers across the state of Maryland may soon see their favorite beer, wine or alcohol cost more.

The legislature is debating an alcohol tax.  Right now it’s 6 percent. But a bill in the Senate proposes raising it 3 percent, phased in one percent a year until it reaches 9 percent.

Under the plan, it won’t be wholesalers, but drinkers that will pay for it in the end.

Business owners say they are concerned about any new tax that could potentially drive customers away.

“A lot of our guests we’ve lost with the economy. So of course with the taxes going up and if it affects the alcohol price, I’m sure they’re going to be that much less likely to come out and enjoy their time here,” said Carly Nascimbeni, Field House general manager.

The state estimates that the tax will raise about $88 million.

Vincent DeMarco with the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative hopes the money will go to health care, but says at a minimum raising the tax would save lives.

“In state after state where alcohol tax has gone up, there’s been less underage drinking, less alcohol abuse,” said DeMarco.

“The very thing that you’re trying to cure, you may be hurting,” said Don Ervin, East Baltimore.

The measure is expected to go in front of the full Senate for a vote.

Comments (29)
  1. Bernard Mc Kernan says:

    Why even bother to vote. These a….hole only cater to their special interest groups & do damm well what they please

    1. DOCSRUS says:

      If your going to consume drugs then why not accept a little of the responsibilty for your upkeep?. Why should I have to pay more sales taxes or income taxes just because half of the population are drunks? It costs money to host 35 million drunks all across the state especially when there driving around stoned crashing into taxpayer owned guardrails and parked police cars. Man up Bernard!

      1. bernie says:

        Let’s start with you DOCRUS by turning your license in for driving while stoned on weed & by giving your real name instead of hiding behind this stupid anonymous moniker. Man up? Something you would know very little about wanker.

  2. Herman Glimsher says:



    1. Squaregrouper says:

      Hermie, the issue at stake is that MD’s politicians are constantly seeking “new” things to tax. The alcohol tax hasn’t been increased in years, thus it is a prime target. MD’s uber liberal politicians have no concept of curbing their spending, just finding new ways of coming up with additional funds. Keep voting for them and they’ll eventually find a way to tax a baptism or a bris!!!

      1. DOCSRUS says:

        I have some excellent ideas on how to save millions of taxpayer dollars wothoit sacrificing anything, while at the same time creating tons of jobs and other opportunties. Do you want to tell them about the master plan Bernie or should I

      2. Greta says:

        Could not agree with Squaregrouper more…Bingo we are in this mess because Annapolis so poorly managed money to begin with and blew through tobacco settlements and stimulus money before Maryland’s share was even deposited. They raided the transportation fund repeatedly vs. ever making the tough cuts to save us from circling the drain because they all want to get re-elected. As a result, we are in a bigger financial mess but with roads and bridges we cant fix. If a business was run this way, shareholders would have leadership prosecuted or thrown out on the street. We continue re-electing people who operate only to appease voters but never fix anything. We need politicians who have the guts to make tough decisions but with unions and well funded lobbyists, I am resigned to believe it’s hopeless. Yeesh, I sound like my grandfather.

  3. Crawdog says:

    Those senaters arn’t too briight Maryland is a very thin state for the most part. I for one will travel a few miles more to PA, or VA. Honestly it isn’t that far. Up theirs. They waste so much of our tax money it isn’t funny. They say there is a devasit, well the governer and senaters sure arn’t taking a pay cut. They should be taking a huge one. Also reduction of there medical benifits is in order as well. Where is all the money from red light cameras and speed cameras going ,they are making millions literally. Don’t forget about the stadium authority, benifits from the the lottery. I’m sure the stadiums downtown have been paid for long ago. What ever happened to serving for the people!! Wake up people!!

    1. BillyBobJoe says:

      Hey der Crawdog. Beer cost $1.99 a sixpack and their talking aboiut a 3% tax. So how far you figure you gonna get on $0.06 worth of gas?

      1. Smash Crasher says:

        What kind of swill do you imbibe in for $1.99 a six pack. Old Milwaukee Light?

  4. jimbo says:

    Where can you get a six pack for 2 bucks??? You people just don’t get it. Let them tax your happy meals for your kids, consumer tax, golf game tax, etc. TAX – TAX – TAX. instead of cutting and staying within your budget.

    1. DOCSRUS says:

      Drugs are optional Jimbo….food is not.

      1. Michael says:

        You just don’t get it Docsrus do you? We’re sick of the increasing taxes, period.

  5. Dallas Duvall says:

    The morons who run our state can wrap their package of BS in whatever wrapper they want. Give these AHs more money, they will spend more money. Hopefully the people who pay these taxes will be reminded which of these idiots vote to take even more money out of their pockets win they go to the voting booth.

  6. Smash Crasher says:

    Again, the Democratic “Party of the People” has shafted “their people” once again. As always, increasing these “sin” taxes affects the lower strata of society far greater than the more affluent. Statistics overwhelmingly support the fact that more lower-income people and minorities purchase and consume more alcohol per capita than those who make more money.

    Thus, the increase will pose more of a problem to those in that category than people making a decent income. A buck here and there for a few beers or drinks at the bar will hardly be a factor for many. But for those living on a limited income, the increase will be greatly noticed. Ironically, those that will be most affected continue to blindly vote for the party (Democrats) that constantly decreases their disposable income. Gotta love that mentality.

  7. Chalkie says:

    They want to save money in this state. Why don’t they redo the welfare system. I am tired of seeing people having better cars, clothes, and jewelry then I can afford, and see them pay for all there food with a independence card. I watch them use these cards at gas station and liquor stores that have food items. You want to save money catch and deport all the illegals in this state that are hurt us by unpaid hospital bills and all the welfare things they get. I heard they want to put a $2 to $3 taxe on a pack of cigarettes next. Stop taxing all the little things and just tax everbody acrossed the board. The stupid gas tax they want to put in, does not hit the people who ride the bus. This state could save money somany other ways, 1 is just by spending less. But our democratic leaders believe in big government which is 1 of the biggest waste of money thier is. Lets look at how much they wasted time and money wise worrying about renaming 2 mountains and the gay rights marriage bill. We need to vote evryone of these idiots out and put a everyday person in government that actually knows what effects the everyday person in this state. Tired of all the B.S. in this state. Florida just had a mid term vote to get rid of a mayor, and they did. Why can’t we do this to our over spending governor and everyone under him. I didn’t vote for this idiot but I have to pay for all him B.S.. Hes a joke and hires family and friends of family to work for him!!!

  8. jim says:

    What part of no more taxe don’t they under stand!!!!!!! Cut the dammmm buget
    CUT WELFARE GET THE PEOPLE THAT ARE HERE THAT DON’T BELONG HERE OUT!!!!! (PUT ICE TO WORK) I AM BEING NICE!!!!! And then vote these bums out in 2012!!!!!!!!!

  9. Dave McCall says:

    When are they going to tax us for the air that we breathe ?

  10. chalkie says:

    My thing is everything already like acohol and cigerrettes are already pretaxed and then you get hit with sale tax. What ever happen to no double taxation. They wonder why the city is at a almost all time low for population and why so many people have moved to virginia and Pa. but still work here. Then they tell you that you cannot buy things from out of state and bring it back to maryland, because they don’t get thier share. Heres one more thing to save money in our education system. Stop paying college professors that only teach 1 slass a week full time teachers money. They are working part time and getting full time money. Plus the have so much extra time that most work a full time job on the side. Stop trying to give illigels in state tutition. Stop giving illegals more rights. Listen to the term illegal, they should have no rights. Instead of milking the tax payers for more money, why don’t you fix what is wrong with our system so it would cost less to the tax payers. And last thing is the voters of this state should be the ones who approve any elect officals pay raise, not you guys. Its funny people that actually work, most haven’t had raises like state employees, people on disability and people on soscial security. Put you all make sure you get your raises. You guys cannot even balance a budget , but you make sure you get raises and have spending accounts to take special interest group people out for dinners. You all need to start to care about the people of the state and not just yourselves!!!

  11. chalkie says:

    I know I made some spelling mistakes in last post, but these idiots make me mad. Then this stupid new web site refresh its by itself. So you only have so much time to make a posting or you have to start all over. Hey WJZ fixs this website please. Its annoying!!!

  12. cms827 says:

    I went to the local High’s store the other night and the gentlemen that worked the cash register infomed me they were closing because they were bought out. He just found out that day, I asked him if he still would have a job and he didn’t know. I walked in this morning and a muslim was behind the register with his towel on his head….he could not even speak english. How do these people get to take over stores and gas stations,, I don’t understand, they pay no taxes and come over here and get government help to take over these things. Yes there is something wrong here.

  13. chalkie says:

    yeah it sucks cms827. Foriegners get government grants to buy up businesses, but the people who pay taxes here can’t even get the help they need when they loose thier jobs. But our goverment has always been about what they can give away instead of helping the citizens of our country. Look how much foriegn aid is given away, and we have kids here going hungry, and senior citizens that can not afford the medicines and the food that they need. But our government will give money to groups like Casa De Maryland that helps keep the illegals here, instead of rounding up and deporting this burden on our society. I don’t know where they get off doing things like this but its really upsetting to me.

  14. tylerjake says:

    Up next, the grocery bag tax. What else would you expect from a state that takes from the working and gives to the worthless?!

  15. Michael says:

    Here’s a sobering thought as we talk about the additional increase in our alcohol taxes.

    Does anyone else remember from history what brought about the Revolutionary War? I’m fairly certain it was due to the continual increase on taxes imposed by the British without our people in America receiving due benefits in return?

    Here we are 236 years later; only a handful of the populous receive true benefits, we’re taxed even more so than before and our country is deeply indebted while our government is being run by people more concerned with lining their own pockets than actual doing good for their common man.

  16. spike says:

    Take the money away from the worthless city welfare abusers and apply that to the budget issue. Im tired of my tax dollars paying for lazy people who just dont feel like working, and decide its necesary to have 6 kids. More and More these days im finding myself wanting to move to another state. Maryland politicians are not representing the views of the majority of Marylanders, just themselves.

  17. Ronald G Miner Jr says:

    My next beer will be purchased in Delaware or Virginia. I will never buy another alcoholic beverage in Maryland. I’m not a bar hopper and do what little drinking I do at home or on the boat. Delaware or Virginia can now have my tax dollars..

  18. Bernard Mc Kernan says:

    A dime here a dime there in & of itself isn’t much but they all add up & it is nothing but death by a thousand little cuts. It hurts the poor the most as they can ill afford any increase. What our legislators need to start doing is real governing. How about cutting instead of spending & taxing to cover it & in the end OMalley will still have a 1,5billion deficit with the increases.

  19. Chris says:

    They mention about raising taxes to reduce alcohol abuse. Maybe a lot of this alcohol abuse is caused by our state taxing us through the roof on just about everything. At least before now, we could enjoy one our taxes being relativley low compared to other states. If they want to raise the alcohol tax, then they should lower the tax on something else, but that is very wishful thinking in this state.

    1. Chris says:

      our taxes on alcohol being relativley low compared to other states is what I was going to say.

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