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February 7, 2011

Brother, can you spare a dime? Or two?

Hampden's popular liquor store The Wine Source today became the latest backer of the dime-a-drink increase to the state alcohol taxes.

Store owner David Wells said in a statement that passage of the measure would help him "sleep better at night" because he thinks the tax increase could curb alcohol abuse. He also predicted the higher costs to consumers will not impact his business.

Wells has a personal connection -- he said some of his family members have abused alcohol.
"It is time for our industry to do its fair share to reduce the deaths and societal problems caused by the misuse of our product," Wells said.

He estimates the tax will add 50 cents to a bottle of wine. The backers of the bill believe it will raise $215 million and want that money used to forestall cuts in Medicaid. O'Malley chops $200 million from the low-income health program in next year's budget.

Separately, Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola plans this evening to introduce his own dime-a-gallon hike to the state's 23.5 cent gas tax. The legislation is meant to raise funds for transportation and will include a constitutional amendment that walls off the money so it can't be spent on other projects.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 2:11 PM | | Comments (14)
Categories: 2011 legislative session


Crock of CRAP!!!

So let me see if I get this straight...

The owner of a liquor store is going "sleep well" at night because a tax is going to help save the lives of addicts.
I guess he things people will not drink less - yet this new tax will not affect his business. HUH? Is that the new math where less = the same?

We all know this is a bad idea.

By the way, I'm not a drink - so my argument has to do with the legislature cutting their spending and leaving tax payers ALONE!!!

If he wants to curb alcohol abuse, GO OUT OF BUSINESS and stop feeding it to them. Hypocrite.

Gee it was only a penny increase for the sales tax, not 20%. WHAT IS A DRINK ? is it one of those 7oz beers thus making a 12oz bottle cost 17 cents more? A six pack would increase by over as dollar. Who is going to compute A DRINK?

curb alcohol abuse by really, really poor people, that is. "Oh, that Nightrain is $3.50? Never mind then..."

If this tax passes the MOM administration will take the proceeds and apply it to the general fund as is their norm due to their fiscal incompetence.

It means more drunks are going to have to harrass more people for more change

I'm for this measure - Alcohol can be considered a luxury, and if the state can help reduce its budget deficit by charging people who drink (including myself) a little more - I'm fine with it. Especially if money goes towards medicare spending. Its not the wholesale health care industry reform that's badly needed, but we can't do everything at once, and MD has little control over a federally mandated program. Raise the gas tax, raise the alcohol tax, and bring on a bag tax as well. Tax us all to hell so the citizens can start paying for all the badly needed services that we rely on that government provides.

If Mr. Wells feels the need to sleep better, he has money of his own he can send the state. It is not my responsibility to spend added tax dollars so he can sleep better.

Or, to put it less politely: **** off, Wells.

Lost in Mount Vernon,

I believe the only thing that is 'lost' is your brain. "Tax us all to hell" ? You do realize the government wastes the majority of the money they collect in taxes right?

There is no good causes a tax can go to when I and people like me are still scraping to make a living for their family. What does this tax matter to distributors or retailers? They just pass the tax increase to the consumer. Mr. Wells is not going to donate his profit he is going to make on the product he will have to pay more for due to this tax. I hope he sleeps well at night knowing that the entire State now knows he is a Hypocritical Horses Ass.

So why doesn't he just raise prices in his store 10 cents per drink and let the rest of us be?

So why doesn't he just raise prices in his store 10 cents per drink and let the rest of us be?

The rich will pay a dime a drink tax without blinking or even thinking about it. This is really a tax targeted against the poor, aimed at modifying their drinking behavior by making it more expensive. The last thing a poor person needs is the government stepping in and making it too expensive for him to enjoy a beer or two in rough economic times. Alcohol is one of the few luxuries poor folks have available to them, and here the big arm of government aims to take it away.

I'm a Democrat, and so I'm not automatically against higher taxes or expanded government. However, what I am against is taxes aimed at people who can't afford them, and government that seeks to restrict people from seeking happiness instead of enabling them to. In other words, if you want to tax luxury yachts, sports cars, and second homes to fund health care and public housing, be my guest, I can get behind that, people who can afford those things can afford to pay a little extra in taxes. If you want to tax beer and gas (Things the poor often purchase), in order to control behavior, though, forgot it. At the very least, if you're going to do alcohol taxes, restrict them to the higher rung items -- bottles of beer and wine over $50 or something.

By the way, what is O'Malley, a Democrat, doing cutting Medicaid? With the sales tax increase and speed cameras and such, it seems like his agenda is basically cut funding for the poor, raise taxes on the poor (i.e. regressively), and take away privacy from everyone. I hope he faces a primary challenge next time around.

And, as far as this liquor store goes, if I lived in that neighborhood, I'd go elsewhere.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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