Time Running Out For Md. Lawmakers To Approve Controversial Bills

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Maryland lawmakers have a lot on their plate and only hours left to work out dozens of important bills. Among them are some hotly contested bills, including a 3 percent increase in the alcohol sales tax.

Bills need approval by both chambers before the General Assembly session ends at midnight Monday.

Derek Valcourt reports with some bills, it’s a matter of ironing out the details, while others have a long way to go.

Drinkers may soon be pouring more money into state coffers.  Saturday night the House agreed to raise the alcohol tax from 6 percent to 9 percent all at once. A version that already passed the Senate would have raised it 1 percent a year for three years.

It’s an increase panned by many stores and bars. Managers arguing the tax increase will hurt their business and jobs.

“Delaware’s only an hour away and for 9 percent people will travel,” said Michael Fishman, Quarry Liquors.

But supporters say the tax would generate an extra $85 million next year alone– with about half going to new school construction.

Another $15 million would go to help the developmentally disabled, helping hundreds who right now are on a waiting list for critical services they need to survive.

“Things that you and I take for granted. They need support with all kinds of daily living activities– things like getting out of bed, eating, dressing, cooking,” said one supporter.

“It’s very critical to me. I can’t live without it,” said another.

As the House and Senate try to reach a compromise on that bill, they’re trying to work out differences in The Dream Act , a bill that would allow illegal immigrants in Maryland high schools to pay in-state tuition rates to attend Maryland universities and colleges. The bill drew fierce debate on the floor this week.

Th heat is still on in the medical marijuana debate, though both chambers have passed different versions of a bill that would allow chronically ill people who get caught with marijuana to argue they are innocent of a crime based on medical necessity.

As usual, lawmakers expect to be working all day Monday right up until the midnight deadline.

  • Who does WJZ support???

    Hmmmm…, Why did WJZ remove the story that had all the comments about the illegal’s getting In-State tuition???

    • kr

      It is in the article if u just read it.

  • Bernie

    Say hello to your newest Nazi block Captain, WJZ….Be careful what you utter because it will be used against you. This is not free speech, if we don’t like it or agree ideology wise, you’re gone .

  • You Can Count On 'JZ

    To Bernie and Support WJZ, How does your comments relate to this story? Raising the booze tax is a good idea. They have raised all other taxes, why is booze immune? I guess you guys will be hoofing it to Delaware to drink to beat the tax. BUt for now, WJZ only reports what is there…

  • MXT

    Oh what wonderful joy! My high taxes get to pay for illegals to attend college! Yay!
    And, it’ll cost me another 3% increase in taxes to drink myself into a stupor while trying to forget I live in such a godawful state!

    • sheriff willie

      MXT, Its going to cost you a hell of a lot more than 3% for that drink. As usual the state lawmakers lie. Remember that 1 cent increase in the sales tax a few years ago? well it was not 1cent but more like 20% from 5% to 6%. Do the math people.

  • James J. Bilenki Jr. (USN. RET.)

    My Dear Fellow, Patriotic Marylanders,

    ANOTHER $85 Million Dollars stolen from the Good, Decent, Legal, Law Abiding, Hardworking, Justly Retired, Highly Over Taxed Already, Put Upon, Abused & Ignored citizens of Maryland & this country! How much do ya wanna’ bet, that these liberal Thieves will STEAL THIS MONEY, WASTE THIS MONEY and GIVE THIS MONEY AWAY to every ILLEGAL ALIEN who shoves their filthy hands in our faces and DEMAND that we give them? DEMAND every RIGHT that the Aformentioned True citizens have worked for, sacrificed for, suffered for and in many instances…Died for? See how much MORE these THIEVES take out of our pockets next year! How much more do they think they can tax us?
    My Patriotic friends, they’re BLEEDING US WHITE!!! If God won’t help us we’re gonna’ have to do it ourselves! All we need is a COMPETENT LEADER. We have the warriors, what we need now is a leader with some “Brass Balls” or even a set of “Leather Ovaries!”


    • Adam

      Hey!! Someone has to pay for it! Lol

    • FuzzyDog

      Free ride….hell they want and will get a chauffeur driven limo to pick them up. No chance in hell of finding balls in the state government. The Baltimore contingent is too strong and that entitles them to pick our pockets.

  • eatmeomalley

    more taxes in maryland, sounds like the democrats are at it again.

  • Pepe

    Read this article!
    Then decide how to balance the budget!!!

  • Debbie

    Watch closely as this session winds down and hold each and everyone who votes for the so-called “dream act” accountable for thier vote. Rewarding ILLEGAL activity in any way makes all of our laws and statutes a joke.
    If laws are “selectively” enforced what good are they?
    Speaker Busch the legal citizns of MD are watching you and the vote.

  • Tony B.

    The courts are jumping with cases related to alcohol: many land in jail which comes out of tax dollars, if you can tax cigarettes to death why not alcohol?

  • angelo coletta the third

    wjz if your going to report news do it right, politicans don’t need your help

  • stephen thomen

    politicans are a run away train as is now the news , can’t trust the news you get , and the politicans in office


    more taxes, our politicans deserve raises







  • John

    Until the people in this most liberal of states understand that continuing to elect the tax and spend progressives nothing is going to change. Marylanders get just what they ask for. Perfect example, tuition breaks for ILLEGALS! If the progressives want to see them in our schools so much they should be sent back to their country of origin and pay out of country rates. Even if the illegals get a college education IT IS ILLEGAL TO HIRE THEM!!!
    Idiocy is electing the same people over and over again and expecting different results.

    • kr




  • sharon keiser

    me to higher and more taxes

  • GB

    does anyone know the last time the alcohol tax was increased?

  • justin feagins

    marijuanna has never hurt anybody while smoking it however people are hurt everyday trying to get there hands on it…so i say legalize it that way it wont be such a fight for it plus md could definetly use the tax money…….ijs

  • kr

    Why is the govt. trying to ruin Maryland businesses???? Increase the liquor tax and for what? The Eastern Shore and Western Shore will not see any of the money from the increase only Baltimore city and surrounding areas. Believe it or not there are other counties in the State.
    It is true that the liquor stores close to Delaware, Pa, West Va. will end up closing because people will travel a small distance to keep some of their hard earned money. Of course if The Federal Govt. doesn’t do something soon about the price of gas (like DRILL) then maybe people will just move to the surronunding states since ours surely does’t care about their citizens.
    State in state tuition for ILLEGAL residents?????????????? Sure we have alot of extra money go ahead. We don’t have any people here in Maryland that want to go to college and can’t because they can’t afford it or want a job that they are unable to get because……. Wake up people

  • William Harrington

    It appears that the only ones opposed to the alcohol tax being raised are the alcoholics, potential alcoholics and murderers who use the excuse that they were drinking to justify their actions. As for the last time the tax on alcohol was raised I believe I read that 1955 was the year. All other raises were general sales tax increases.

    • John

      This has to be one of the dumbest responses yet. There is a majority of people, politicians aside, that do not want any tax increases. We are overtaxed and the answer is reduce spending, not increase taxes.
      Since you have lumped everyone into: ” the only ones opposed to the alcohol tax being raised are the alcoholics, potential alcoholics and murderers who use the excuse that they were drinking to justify their actions.” I can assume you are OK with in state tuition for illegals. It would not surprise me from someone as narrow minded as you.

      • In Pursuit Of Happiness

        If you want to speak about MAJORITIES, then don’t leave out the 75+% of Maryland residents that want Medical Marijuana – then at the last moment O’Malleys Health Sec. stops the progress dead with “duhhhh, we need a study to figure out how to pay for a Medical Marijuana program…”

        NO we don’t, just tax the booze… then use the $ to setup the dispensaries… since they won’t let people grow it, which could solve everything, other than the FEAR from the “few” opponents – And they are the same losers that will vote against the Booze Tax Increase…

        Montana is pushing for an amendment so that growers can’t charge for the medicine, taking PROFIT out of the equation… then you have a state like Maryland that wants to PROFIT from allowing people to access the MEDICINE, monopolizing the industry.. not for anyone’s safety mind you, just for the $$$…
        But, isn’t it always about the money…

        When 80% of the voters want something and don’t get it… and re-elect the same clowns, then what do you expect?… We need to vote these spendthrifts out the door when the time comes

        For the People, By The People… yea right, only if you are the people with a lot of money, then you buy the votes needed to push your agenda through… as for the rest the rest of us, it really looks like we just don’t count… when a clear majority says yes, and the politicians say no… it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why – $$$$

        I rest my case

  • Brian

    Having just read through people’s comments her has got me wondering if anyof our lawmakers read them. I doubt it!
    I suggest that everyone who has wrote comments here sends a letter to their representatives in Annaplolis.
    If they got a pile of letters protesting Tax or fee increases maybe just maybe they might realize theyare NOT representing the people who voted them in.
    I have yet to meet a voter who has voted for more taxes yet thats what we get every time.
    It’s about time we the voters wrote to our representatives and held them accountable

  • LiberalElitesHateMinorities

    welfare sewage and mont. co want-to-be san frannies. this is the electorate of maryland. the ultra rich tax out the middle class until only the ‘help’ can remain.
    looks like the old south is rising again in maryland.

  • Elsiesgal

    To James J. Bilenki Jr. (USN. RET.) from above… AMEN Sir and I salute you (with tears in my eyes).

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