Monday, January 18, 2010

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime to Pay the Tax on My Beer in MD?

Not being a big beer drinker or any alcohol for that matter (not that I am opposed to drinking those legally permitted to drink and doing so responsibly), this particular tax won't affect my wallet, but it does chafe me a great deal.

A five cent a drink tax failed previously in the General Assembly, so the state is doubling down, thinking "Well if we try a 10 cent tax, maybe our citizens won't mind when we impose a five cent tax instead." Keep in mind there is already a sales tax on alcoholic beverages at Maryland 6% rate.

What the proponents of this tax don't get is that, just about everywhere in Maryland is not far from another state where there won't be this tax. So, people in western Maryland might make a quick jaunt to West Virginia, or Pennsylvania, or Virginia to buy beer (and save $2.40 a case or $1.20 a case on a five cent tax). Additionally, there will be those poeple who might buy a beer or a glass of wine with dinner who will forgo that beer or wine on a regular basis to avoid an additional tax.

The consequence to Maryland--less tax revenue than projected. Oh and a boon to the economies of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia who will get a bump in their sales tax revenue.

Hey General Assembly, here is a thought--how about spending less before doubling down on a drink tax.

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