'Sin tax' on alcohol won't work

March 01, 2011

After reading "'Dime-a-drink' tax will save lives, not kill jobs" (Feb. 22) by Messrs. Jernigan, Waters and Cook, I'm left wondering: If taxing alcohol will accomplish the two-pronged benefit of raising revenue for the state while curtailing abuse due to reducing consumption, why stop at 10 cents a drink?

Why not double the tax? Or triple it?

I'm not on the faculty of Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, nor am I a professor of public policy at Duke University, but I did take logic in college and the writers' argument just doesn't hold water, beer or any other liquid.

Raising a "sin" tax will do what raising every other tax does: Reduce net income and jobs in the private sector.

I don't work in higher education, nor do I work in government where you can raise revenue by simply raising tuition or taxes. I work in the real world where companies compete for business and most certainly will go out of business if they can't control costs.

Marylanders with the means will simply buy their alcohol out of state -- just as many Maryland tobacco users already are doing -- taking their money and jobs with them, while the poor are left to pay the higher taxes and learn to live on less.

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