Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dime a Drink, What do you Think?

The state of Maryland is proposing a new tax on all alcoholic beverages.

There are a few reasons for this.  One is to reduce the amount of alcohol consumption.  Research has shown that as the price of alcohol rises, consumption decreases.  Supporters of the tax argue the tax could potentially reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths by 33 each year and reduce those with alcohol-related dependency by 13,000, according to a study done at Johns Hopkins..  This would save the state of Maryland $225 million in health care costs during its first year.

The second reason for the proposed tax is to fund the Medicaid expansion and mental health services for those with developmental disabilities or those needing drug abuse treatment.  The bill is expected to raise about $215 million per year for the state of Maryland.

The tax would be a 10 cent tax per alcoholic beverage, which translates to an extra $2.40 per case of beer.  The last time taxes were raised on alcohol in Maryland was in 1972.  The same bill was introduced in the last session of the Maryland assembly, but failed.  A 5-cent tax was proposed the year before that, also failing.  There are so far 54/141 state delegates who have signed on to the current bill.

Will it pass?  If so, will the funds be administered as they are proposed?

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