Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Good Session for Liquor Lobby

As most already know, Maryland will remain one of the few states in the union that does not allow direct shipping of wine thanks to the states powerful liquor lobby. Ironically, thanks to the same lobby, the effort to make ignition interlock devices mandatory for drunk drivers also failed. Maryland is one of nineteen states without such a law. According to this editorial in The Washington Post, the liquor lobby’s best friends in Annapolis are Senate President Mike Miller and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Delegate Joseph F. Vallario.

“But it is mainly in Annapolis that the liquor lobby's winning percentage over the decades is unsurpassed. This year, the liquor lobby also managed to safeguard the absurd ban on the direct shipment of wine to Maryland homes and to kill a proposed increase in the tax on spirits, which the state last raised in 1955. The liquor lobby relies heavily on old-guard lawmakers like Mr. Vallario and the Senate president, Thomas V. "Mike" Miller.”

We were a bit luckier in HoCo. Despite the efforts of Guy Guzzone and Warren Miller, the initiative to limit the number of liquor stores in the county was defeated making it one of the few setbacks for the licensed beverage dealers in this year.

There is still hope.


Jen said...

Apparently, a portion of the tax increase would have been allocated to state mental health programs (meaningful to me for various reasons). Also, the liquor tax has not been raised since.....


How many taxes increases have you experienced as an individual taxpayer since 1955? Since 1970? Since 2000?

Shame on the liquor lobby.

RE: wine shipment... When the ban was lifted in DC (or a year or so after), I had a case of my favorite wine sent to my office. I hadn't had this wine since college (little vineyard in NY). I spent a month hungover and drunk. Perhaps not such a great idea to have special wine delivered :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent work, Jen. And it was work, researching those issues regardless of how enjoyable.

Freemarket said...

Jen, I think it was Guy Guzzone who said he would support the increase in liquor tax only if the proceeds went to help those with mental health issues. I don’t *think* there was an option on the table to make that so, but I could be wrong. I thought that was a strange statement for him to make, but I see he is being honored by the ARC of HoCo later this month, so perhaps mental health is his pet issue.

Also, groceries are not taxed. Wouldn’t it make more sense to tax groceries than to raise taxes on booze? Just sayin’.