25 January 2011

That Bill to raise Md. alcohol taxes.......

..... now has a name and a number for 2011, Senate president "Mike" Miller notwithstanding:  The Lorraine Sheehan Health and Community Services Act of 2011, or House Bill 121:

Supporters of the tax increase say it would generate about $215 million in revenue for Maryland. As outlined in the bill, money raised by the tax would expand state Medicaid coverage, provide services for people with developmental disabilities and mental health needs and offer alcohol and drug prevention and treatment programs.
If passed, the tax would raise the wholesale tax on beer from $0.09 to $1.16 per gallon; on wine from $0.40 to $2.96 per gallon; and on spirits from $1.50 per gallon to $10.03 per gallon.
That’s an average increase of 6.6 percent in alcohol prices. For the occasional drinker, that equates to an extra $11 per year, studies show.
From the revenue generated, the bill would dole out the following:
• 34 percent to the Maryland Medicaid Trust Fund;
• 15 percent to the state’s Mental Health Care Fund;
• 15 percent to the state’s Developmental Disability Support Fund;
• 15 percent to the state’s Addiction Treatment, Prevention and Recovery Fund;
• 6.2 percent to the Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Fund;
• 2.1 percent to the Health Care Personnel Training Fund;
• and the remaining revenue to the state’s General Fund.  [For the record, that's 12.5%.  I wonder why they didn't just say that.....  actually, no, I don't.]
Note that the distribution of tax receipts is markedly different from the original proposal of last year (PDF format).

Here's last year's version of the House bill. The current version has yet to be posted.

More in the Baltimore Business Journal.  And you can quickly see, or cue, the inevitable "war of words" between proponents ("only a dime a drink") and opponents ("1,189% increase!")...........

And who the heck is Lorraine Sheehan?  See here.

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