Last week in the Maryland Senate and this week in the House of Delegates lawmakers were treated to a parade of bar and liquor store owners and distributors warning them that a proposal to spend $14-to-$22 million more a year to improve access to health care in disadvantaged communities would either severely hurt them or, in some cases, drive them out of business entirely. Why? Because the legislation in question, the Maryland Health Equity Resource Act, would be financed by a 1 cent increase this fall in Maryland’s alcohol sales tax. No longer would buyers of alcoholic beverages pay 9 cents on the dollar; it would rise to 10 cents — although for restaurants and bars, the higher tax would not kick in until October of 2023. That penny, many decried, would be the proverbial tipping point for their strained hospitality industry.
Alcohol tax hike: A penny that saves lives
February 4, 2021