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Posted at 6:24 PM ET, 03/17/2010

The alcohol lobby comes first in Annapolis

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Donna Fluke
Odenton

Regarding Aaron C. Davis’s March 12 front-page article “Under the influence of lobbyists, Md. unlikely to raise alcohol taxes”:

I am a parent of two adults who have developmental disabilities and receive services in Maryland. I am thankful every day for those services, as our family would not have survived without them. But the programs have suffered cuts in these austere budget times and struggle to maintain quality as they help people with disabilities become independent members of their communities. My heart goes out to those families still waiting for services; many of them are in desperate situations. The proposed “alcohol tax” would provide some of the funds we need to support these individuals and their families.

I am 70 years old and have been advocating for such services for almost 50 years. We have made progress, but there is still so much to do, and the need is great. And now we are in danger of losing hard-won gains. Mr. Davis’s article clearly revealed the power of the alcohol lobby in Maryland — not just this year but over many years. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud free enterprise and the rights that go along with our capitalistic society, and I am not naive. Also, I enjoy a drink as much as the next person. But the dynamic described in the article — of the alcohol lobby’s influence over Maryland lawmakers — made me cringe. Is this something Maryland voters should be proud of?

There are numerous legislators in the General Assembly who have long supported our efforts, and I thank them. As for the others, who hide behind the ever-effective mantra of “no more taxes,” I raise my glass in a toast to your tenacious support and unending loyalty to the alcohol lobby. Please, think of us the next time you look in a mirror.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | March 17, 2010; 6:24 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Maryland  
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Comments

I will grant that these services are needed. What I object to is that all health related services now seem to be funded by "sin" taxes. Re: SCHIP and tobacco. If the public demands these services, the burden should be shouldered by the general taxpayer, not shifted onto a shrinking portion of the population.

Posted by: ssmorehouse | March 18, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

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