Marylanders WANT to pay $2.10 for a Miller Lite
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is touting a new poll that says Marylanders “strongly” support paying more per drink at the pub if the extra tax money goes to help the disabled or addicted.
The group is backing what they call a $0.10 increase per drink to the state’s alcohol tax (the tax would actually be levied at the wholesaler level). The group says the revenues would fund programs for people with disabilities.
They commissioned a poll that says that 80 percent would accept an alcohol tax increase if the new funds pay for programs for the developmentally disabled, 79 percent would support it in exchange for higher funding for mental health, 66 percent want health care expanded to more uninsured Marylanders and 65 percent want more resources for alcohol and drug addiction.
As a gentle warning to our cherished readers who are nodding their heads empathetically while thinking about the priorities enumerated above, please do remember these two words: FUND TRANSFER.
The FUND TRANSFER is a mechanism the General Assembly likes to use when they realize they don’t have enough money for something they really want. Faced with that problem they simply move money from Pot A (programs for the disabled, for example) to Pot B (pick your cause). This year’s $13 billion general fund budget includes $900 million worth of FUND TRANSFERS.
In short, even if a law is passed that said all revenues from an extra dime per drink should fund some cocktail of programs for the disabled, mentally ill, uninsured and developmentally disabled, a simple change could be made to redirect that money to fund an upgrade to the elevators in the Lowe House Office building.
Here is what wouldn’t change: Your ten cent tax on a beer.