BPW approves projects funded by new alcohol tax
Maryland's Board of Public Works this morning approved school construction projects in three counties funded by the new 50 percent hike to the sales tax on alcohol.
Projects include improvements to athletic facilities at Howard County schools, renovations to three elementary schools and one middle school in Montgomery County, and a new preforming arts center at a high school in Anne Arundel County.
During the meeting Gov. Martin O'Malley sought to stress the jobs that would be created by each project, asking officials from each school system to estimate how many workers would be needed for each item.
"There is such a disconnect between the choices we make together and the economy we share together," O'Malley said, striving to show that the increased taxes would be plowed back into the state by bolstering its workforce.
The projects are worth $18 million; and represent the first chunk of schools projects funded by the higher alcohol tax. The board is expected to approve projects in Baltimore County and other systems when it meets again in two weeks.
In April lawmakers raised the sales tax on alcohol from 6 percent to 9 percent, which is estimated to generate $85 million a year. The legislature required the money to be spent on school projects and health care in the first year, but goes to the general fund in following years.