With less than two hours remaining in the 90-day session late Monday night, the Maryland General Assembly approved a 50 percent hike on the state alcohol tax.
If signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, the state tax on liquor, beer and wine will jump from 6 percent to 9 percent, effective July 1.
Two alcohol tax-related bills passed through the House and Senate on the final day of debate.
Senate Bill 994 was amended this weekend to do away with the 6 percent to 9 percent increase over a three-year period. That bill is expected to send $15 million of revenue from the first year toward programs for the developmentally disabled.
The other bill, House Bill 1213, dedicates $47.5 million of the tax’s $85 million in projected first-year revenue to school construction.
Democrats lauded the bills passage, citing multiple winners Monday night.
“The increase in the alcohol tax is long overdue,” Del. Jolene Ivey, of Prince George’s County said in a text message to the Baltimore Business Journal. “The winners are the disability community, public schools, and the people of Maryland.”
But some, mainly Republicans, questioned the bills intentions.
Many criticized the bill over the course of the day for being such a far cry from the dime-a-drink increase proposed in the Lorraine Sheehan Health and Community Services Act of 2011. SOURCE: Baltimore Business Journal