Brother, can you spare a dime? Or two?
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.