Pass the bottle tax

April 30, 2010

Thank you for your editorial on April 28th in support of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's proposal for a beverage surcharge to reduce Baltimore's budget deficit ("Bottle tax scare"). Your comment about the fact that despite various other proposals to raise revenue, the fact that the "bottle tax" is the only one with significant opposition shows again the reach of large corporations that are merely using the local business owners as a front to continue to manipulate the citizens for their profit.

The state alcohol tax increase proposal faced similar opposition this year, with the alcohol industry distorting the impact on local business and economy as a way to scare off supporters of the bill. While many other taxes have gone up, the beer and wine tax has not been changed for almost 40 years, and the liquor tax last went up in 1955. The alcohol industry made unfounded claims that people would purchase their alcohol elsewhere, even though Delaware, West Virginia, and Virginia all have higher taxes than Maryland. They claimed disaster for the state's economy, but the truth is the ones benefiting from keeping the alcohol tax and the beverage surcharge low are large corporations, not the ordinary citizens of Maryland.

It's time to stop letting outside corporations dictate the welfare of our city and state. The beverage surcharge should pass, and so should the alcohol tax, closing our state budget gap and making our state a healthier and safer place for all.

Sarah Cha, Baltimore

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