ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—A new law goes on the books that could cut into your entertainment dollars. Governor Martin O’Malley signed an alcohol tax increase that applies to all adult beverages.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports on the intended help and the potential harm.

Raising the cost of raising a glass. The toast “to your health” takes on added meaning in Maryland as the state raises money for the disabled with a 3 percent alcohol tax increase.

It’s the bill that caused a buzz in the General Assembly when lawmakers broke ranks with the liquor lobby with the first tax increase in four decades.

“This new law that the governor just signed will save many lives by reducing underage drinking and alcohol abuse and will bring in money that we can use for important public health and community services,” said Vincent DeMarco, of Maryland Citizens Health Initiative.

Some Marylanders don’t believe the tax hike will curb underage drinking.

“When I was a kid, we didn’t care what it cost, we would get what we needed to satisfy what we wanted,” said one skeptic.

“I think kids are going to drink no matter what it cost,” said another.

But there’s no arguing the benefits for people like Aaron Kaufman, whose trip to the State House to see the bill signed was a victory walk. Money from the tax will help move him off a waiting list for community services.

“When the time comes, it’ll mean that a spot will actually be open so I, like many of my current friends from college, can move out of the house and live within the community and I’ll have the support I need within the community to succeed,” Kaufman said.

There remains a concern, however, that lower prices in border states and more expensive bar drinks will hurt retailers and restaurant staff.

“I think it’ll be less going to the actual server and more going to the tax,” said one Maryland resident.

But the governor and General Assembly have decided the benefits to some outweigh the risks to others.

“In my world, I encounter pain every day and challenges every day,” said one disabled Maryland resident who believes he will benefit from tax increase. “But you just don’t give up and as a result of this there won’t be as many 80-year-old mothers caring for their 55-year-old sons or daughters with significant disabilities.”

The tax increase takes effect July 1. The tax goes up from 6 percent to 9 percent, and the state expects to raise $85 million.

Comments (21)
  1. M says:

    YAY!!! $85mil more dollars the state can “save” and then turn right around and spend again! I love O’Malley! He’s so business savvy! As I’m typing this I’m putting a gun to my head…

    1. makesnosence says:

      I don’t drink, but I still think this is a total crock! Another tax increase. When will they ever get it? Just stop all the stupid spending on social programs designed to get them re-elected. If they did, they would then have a surplus and be able to lower our taxes. I guarentee, they would then get more than just my vote to be re-elected! I guess they prefer buying votes the stupid way??????

  2. jd says:

    Geez, it’s a 3% tax increase, get a hold of yourselves. So if you buy $100 of beer in a month, that means you’ll end up paying an extra $3. Such a horrible hardship I know. And of course, that money will just be eaten up by faceless government programs — no chance it’ll actually help anyone, right? Uh, no, wrong. As someone who supported this, let me apologize for forcing you to help disabled people.

    1. bz says:

      Thanks for giving me permission to spend my own money, jd. You don’t have to apologize. I just won’t apologize when I force you to buy me a beer.

    2. overtaxed says:

      Hey JD – do you remember that the Lottery was sold to the public as funding for education? It now funds the stadium authority.

      More taxes from the “a fee is a tax” bald faced liar O’Malley

      And yet another liberal with head in rear end

      Can Pat Warren possibly make more propoganda for the State???

  3. Donald Holloway says:

    Just another way to rob people of their money so the govermment can get their pay raises. These funds will be wasted. Same as raising the tolls on the highways. People are getting rob everyday by taxes, gas, water, and as far as land tax my land is not worth the tax cost.

  4. Layla says:

    Our government sucks in this state
    First they sign a bill to allow illegals
    to get loans for education, now
    another tax increase

    What’s next?

    O’Malley you need to go

  5. beam me up says:

    Just gives me another excuse not to come down to MD. The state of taxes and charges. It’s what you call socialism, infact i think Communist Russia had fewer laws and taxes. Land of the free except MD.

  6. The Truthsayer says:

    If you really think this money is going to be used for disabled persons, than you are an idiot. it will be redirected and squandered like everything else in this state.

  7. angie says:

    the truth be told the money will never go to help anyone in maryland it will only be spent on o’malley and his family. he does nothing for this state never has and never will. if o’malley was going to really help someone i would have no problem with the extra tax but since i know it will only go into his pocket and be given to help his kids i will not pay the tax i can go else where to buy my drinks and get it cheaper and enjoy myself even more knowing he is not getting one dime for his pocket

  8. RJL says:


    Its actually $9 tax on $100 now, the 3% was an increase on an existing tax. Anyone who believes that it will curb underage drinking is insane. Teens pay people to buy them beer, they don’t care. Everytime i turn around the government has their hand in my pockets. I run a small biz and with all the taxes it seems like the government is my silent partner.

  9. Kay says:

    O’Malley needs to GO!!!! I think he has lost his mind.

  10. Nelson Short says:

    these politicians are crazy. Anyone who thinks this will curb underage drinking must aleady be drunk. Wake up folks. Anybody remember Mr. O’Money rake Bob Erlich for increasing tolls? Remember? A toll is just another tax. Now they expect us to believe that the booze tax is for the greater good and it’s going to help people. My money says it’ll go into the general fund and get wasted as usual.

  11. Gino says:

    maybe its time to let our —- do the talking 4us!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Nobody says:

    We need to have a BOH party and toss all the beer in the harbor.

  13. homeofhightaxes says:

    FINALLY they have left cigarettes alone for once. Good thing i don’t drink. i don’t want to line the pockets of the lawmakers that put this in effect.

  14. outkasts says:

    Grew up as democrat and now I hate them both!!!I can,t another tax or another war.
    O will put us all on social services,like he did in baltimore.

  15. tiredofit says:

    Lower prices in border states is a concern!!! Not with the Gas tax and toll increases in Maryland. They are destroying a once great state.

  16. dripable says:

    You’re indeed right with this writing!!!

  17. ocguy says:

    Again another tax increase. With each increase I am motivated to spend less on the item taxed. I bet the net effect is they will get LESS taxes from the increase than had they left well enough alone.

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