House Panel Holds Hearing On Alcohol Tax Increase

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Time is running out for a bill to raise the alcohol tax to fund the disabled and schools.

Suzanne Collins reports on a last-ditch lobbying effort.

Edward Willard can’t talk, so he’s using a computer to explain it.  Like Willard, there are 5,000 disabled Marylanders who are on a waiting list hoping to get services. Some of them are desperate for help.

“Many of them have much older caregivers who are really struggling to care for them at home. They may be at risk of becoming homeless. There are very dire situations out there,” said Laura Howell, Chair, Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition.

A bill to raise the sales tax on alcohol would filter money to the disabled. It would be $5 million the first year and additional funds for two years afterward.

Kim Curry says she is finally independent in a group home after waiting years on the list.

“[I waited] six or seven years at least because at one time I was living with my brother and his family in Salisbury,” said Curry.

Liquor stores and restaurants say they alone are being saddled with the burden, which will hurt business.

“If we lose sales, we’re going to lose jobs. The people on the border are really going to be impacted by the high tax,” said Chuck Ferrar, Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits.

The current bill calls for a penny increase in the sales tax every year for three years. So by the third year, a bottle of Jack Daniels would cost 60 cents more.

The alcohol tax would also be spent to beef up education funding for Baltimore City and Prince George’s County.

The Senate passed it, but the House must vote by Monday at midnight.

The lobbying is intense. Even if the House votes in favor of the alcohol tax, any amendments or delays could doom the bill at this late hour.

The sales tax increase would raise an estimated $58 million in fiscal year 2013 and $85 million in the third year.

The disabled advocates say in three years, the tax revenue could eliminate the long waiting list for services.

  • RT

    You know what’s sad? The fact that they can’t cut funds somewhere else to pay for these things. They have to increase taxes in order to fund these things. Really the increase in taxes 4 years ago didn’t help? Did anyone think that maybe less alcohol will be bought which could in the end not bring in the estimated $24 million. What happens when it only brings in 5 or 10 million? We could be cutting funds for illegal immigrants to go to college or other wasteful spending. But rather than be responsible and make sure funds go to useful projects we keep things that don’t work and pile on new programs and raise old programs funding.

    • looking out 4 you

      it beates food tax and gas tax you big dope

  • Debra Bushall

    They better get it together, you all haven’t raised the tax on Alcohol in almost 40 years, and quite frankly as a smoker I’m tired of it. It’s way past time and you all know it. So…. just do it, drinkers are like smokers will pay because we like it.

    • Fwaff

      mnmimizeiacoxe on April 22, 2009 Since ive joined this program ive been making more money than ever so i would recommend this to anyone. Its great because its FREE and also you only have to be 13 to join! Fantastic referral program and keep the videos coming buddy.

  • Chuck

    Every time they want to raise taxes or foist something over on the public they seem to say it is for the schools or for the challenged. Then after they get it passed the monies get transferred over to the general fund and spend it however they see fit. Just another lie that this will be used for what they say then when they need to raise more money because they always do. (they never have enough) it is back to the kids education and public safety cries.

    • overtaxed

      Giving more monet to Annapolis DEMOCRATS is like giving more crack to a crackhead, it will go up in smoke and they will be in withdrawal until they can get more.

  • JS

    So 21 million out of the 29 million will be going to the two districts that voted for comrade Omalley. This is why when I retire in 3 years I will be moving from this state. For now I think I will just travel to Delaware to get my alcohol.

  • Tripweaver

    Sens. Verna Jones-Rodwell and Richard Madaleno help make a strong case…for becoming a Republican. Tax and spend…tax and spend. Government just gets bigger and more intrusive every day. Suddenly I want a cup of tea.

  • whatnow

    Tax alcohol like you tax cigs. It hurts just as many people.

    • overtaxed

      You act as if Annapolis actually cares about the people. They don’t want anyone to quit the sin that is being taxed, the revenue is more important to them than the posture of “helping” people. The real problem is by these “sin” taxes the government is telling us how we should live our lives. But I geuss that is why people vote Democratic, so the nanny state can lead your life for you.

  • murphys govans

    tax it and tax it now


    if you got money for boozing it up then you got money for taxes

  • nacho mama's

    tax the liquior ,,,,,quicker

  • max's

    i’am thankful to sell beer and pay taxes



  • hogan's alley

    thank god for the tax man

  • bernie

    I’m gonna have to cut back to one case of beer a day & only a 1/5 of Vodka. I may even give up my Comcast & not be able to blog. Oh dear me!

  • Ida

    Cosmomakeup on August 30, 2011 i like my big wide smile! i definitely do not have agtsirht white teeth but i do not let my teeth prevent me from smiling! in my opinion, smiles can bring people together and cheer up a stranger’s day, therefore i want to spread and share my happiness with others

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