March 31, 2011

Maryland alcohol tax bill passes Senate

The Maryland Senate on Wednesday passed a proposal that would tack a 3 percent tax on the sale of alcohol, moving it one step closer to the governor’s desk. Senate Bill 994 now heads to the House of Delegates for consideration to be included in the General Assembly’s final spending plan.

If the bill is included in that plan, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s signature would be all it needs to become a law. O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec said the governor will keep an open mind to any revenue measures that reach his desk. Fast-tracked SB 994 would put an extra 1 percent sales tax on alcohol over each of the next three years. When fully phased in, the bill would generate up to $88 million a year for the state. In 2012, the bulk of revenues from the first 1 percent increase would go to restoring cuts in education aid in Baltimore, Prince George’s, Allegany and Garrett counties.

An additional $5 million of the tax’s revenue would be used in 2012 to reduce the waiting list for developmental disabilities services — and in its ensuing years, those numbers would increase to at least $10 million in 2013 and at least $15 million in 2014. Additionally, the bill could mean an infusion of cash to the state’s general fund that would offset some cuts lawmakers are seeking to reverse. SOURCE: Biz Journal

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