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Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 01/12/2011

Md. Senate president calls alcohol tax hike 'insanity'

By John Wagner

Thumbnail image for mike miller.jpg"Insanity personified."

That's how Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) summed up his thoughts Wednesday morning on a proposal for a "dime-a-drink" increase in state alcohol taxes.

Miller appeared along with House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) at the "Annapolis Summit" hosted by radio personality Marc Steiner. The event was taped for broadcast just hours before the start of the 2011 legislative session.

Miller has been pushing for an increase in the state gas tax and said he was open to tax increases more broadly. But he spoke in typically blunt fashion about his interest in raising alcohol taxes by a significant amount this session. Advocates are pressing to use the additional revenue to fund health programs.

"It's just not going to happen," Miller said.

O'Malley repeated his pledge to introduce a budget next week that closes a $1.3 billion shortfall without raising taxes.

Busch said a decision on whether to raise taxes will be guided in part by the desires of local government leaders, who are likely to see significant cuts in state aid in O'Malley's budget.

By John Wagner  | January 12, 2011; 11:39 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly, John Wagner, Maryland State Budget  
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hahaha so lets think about this, if you cut spending by giving money to local government to help out with programs what do you think they're going to do.

Do you think they'll just cut all those programs or and more likely do you think they'll just raise local taxes so they can at least support some of the programs.

But hey, at least you can't be blamed for raising taxes. Passing the blame, it's the american way.

Posted by: rderr27 | January 12, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Use of sin taxes and increased taxation of tobacco and alcohol, legalizing pot and taxing the heck out of it are only logical...unless of course you are receiving some type of benefits from the alcohol and tobacco lobbies....nah, say it ain't so Mike Miller!

Posted by: 10bestfan | January 12, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

here is the problem in Maryland...the voters are stuck with the choice between a tax and spend democrat or some whack job republican since the republicans have been taken over by their far, far extreme right wing....their are no moderate republicans or fiscally conservative democrats......pitiful....politicians like miller are a disgrace....but so are the repubs in maryland.

Posted by: OldSalt8 | January 12, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Tax booze. After the third drink no one will care.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 12, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Miller on the alcohol tax and against him on the gas tax. If there has to be a tax hike, implement combined reporting, tax out of state corporations who make huge profits doing business here. Either way, I think OMalley and crew are going to let the rest of the state rot just so they can have gold plated and diamond studded schools and continue their political patronage jobs at U Md.

Posted by: VikingRider | January 12, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Gee, you gotta wonder why Miller is so opposed to raising the tax on a drink 10 cents...maybe because he's known as a big phucking drunk! Hello, Mr. Self-Interest.

Posted by: B-rod | January 12, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Why not? Alcohol is not a necessity. It's not even a burden for those buying alcohol. A dollar a drink shouldn't even be a burden. This Miller guy needs to be investigated to see if the alcohol lobby may be "helping" his decisions. Good Lord, we have energy taxes in MoCo for things we NEED, we have a huge sin tax on cigarettes,why can't the drinkers pay up as well? I think all luxury vehicles should have a 25% state tax as well. Old Salt 8, you are so on point with your comment. The reason people vote for Dems in MD is that the repubs are so transparently special interest it's disgusting. They should just wear t-shirts for the companies paying them. The Dems could wear Union, La Raza, and ACLU jackets. Cuold we get an independent in the governor's mansion EVER????

Posted by: stopthemadness | January 12, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Sure, this is a good idea for more tax on booze. Perhaps it will make a few people quit drinking.

Look at the positive side.

Posted by: Special_One40 | January 12, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

People go to bars to drink and get screwed. They'll pay the ten cent a drink increase without even giving it a second thought.

Posted by: localgoober | January 12, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Does this have anything to do with the fact that his family owns one of the largest liquor stores in the state????

Posted by: jbd3 | January 12, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Gas is one thing everyone uses, so it hits everyone. I agree with Miller on this. We are singling out small businesses that sell alcohol by the drink for the most part with a "dime-a-drink" tax. A lot of our citizens make their living in these small businesses, and it could have a pretty big negative effect on people in these tough economic times. Spreading it across the board is not only fair, but it's more predictable, and may get some people to use alternate transportation that helps limit gridlock.

Posted by: memerider | January 12, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

@10bestfan Of course he receive a benefit his family owns liquor stores! Who is the one of the biggest lobbying groups ($$) the booze folks. So wasn't doesn't WAPO do an article on Mike and family booze?

Posted by: agwilson1399 | January 13, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

How are the Repubs a disgrace in MD they dont get elected!! from 1967 to 2002 MD did not have a republican governor, Mike Miller has been president of the state Senate since 1987, There has prob never been a Republican Senator as far as I know!! The Dem monopoly who have ran things in MD for 5+Decades are a disgrace!!

Posted by: mchughdan28 | January 13, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

So Senator Miller is in favor of a gasoline tax increase and thinks one on alcohol is "insanity."

Posted by: robinficker | January 18, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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