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Alcohol Tax Increase Goes Into Effect Friday

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Another new law is going into effect Friday and it’s likely to impact your holiday celebrations.  The “dime a drink” alcohol tax begins July 1.  Weijia Jiang has the last-minute rush for local liquor stores.

At liquor stores across the state, Marylanders stocked  up on booze, their last call before the alcohol tax goes up from six percent t0 nine percent Friday.

“Today we’ve had a big rush.  Yesterday, as well,” said Dave Moore, Wells Discount Liquors.

“I like to save a few dollars where I can, so today was the day to do it,” said Mike Taylor.

The increase is expected to generate $85 million annually.  Maryland schools will get a one-time boost of $68 million and $15 million will provide services to disabled patients.

“It’s just another way the government is trying to get theirs,” said Wyatt Runciman.

On Thursday night, an order cost $632.  When the law goes into effect, it will cost $650.  Some researchers say the tax hike will decrease alcohol consumption but many we spoke with say they doubt it.

“Absolutely not, no.  I’ll budget more for alcohol,” said Holly Szimanski.

Others disagree, including some in the industry.

“I think it’s gonna hurt bars, it’s gonna hurt restaurants,” said Lauren Modica.

Time will tell exactly how much the tax helps and how hard drinkers feel the pinch.

“I have no problem with sin taxes.  People wanna drink, smoke…pay for it,” said Maurice Drayton.

In a letter to supporters of the tax, the governor wrote he hopes the hike will reduce underage drinking and alcohol abuse.

Maryland last raised beer and wine taxes in 1972.

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