Miller says alcohol tax hike "not going to happen"
Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. on Friday backed away from comments made on a television show this week suggesting there was a chance his chamber could approve an increase in alcohol taxes.
"It's certainly not going to happen this session," Miller (D-Calvert) said Friday.
On Wednesday, Miller opened the door to the possibility during an appearance on Maryland Public Television.
"It's a possibility that the votes will be there to move in that direction," Miller said during an hourlong program that also included Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel).
On the show, Miller said a tax increase would generate only about $20 million at a time when the state is facing a budget shortfall of close to $2 billion.
An editorial in Friday's Baltimore Sun accused Miller of "bad math," citing an Abell Foundation report that estimated a 10-cent-per-drink increase would raise about $214.4 million.
During a news conference on the budget, during which Miller brought up the editorial, he said he "never in my wildest dreams" envisioned a tax increase of that magnitude. Aides said that Miller's $20 million figure was based on more modest proposals from past legislative sessions.
Given the tough economic times, an alcohol tax now would be too "onerous" on restaurants, Miller said Friday.
December 18, 2009; 3:29 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly , John Wagner
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