Higher Alcohol Taxes Mean Job Losses for Maryland's Hospitality Industry; Massive Alcohol Tax will Cost Jobs, Revenue

March 8, 2005 07:00 PM
ANNAPOLIS – Raising taxes on distilled spirits, beer and wine could cost Maryland 1,800 jobs, according to Distilled Spirits Council Vice President David Wojnar, who will submit testimony in opposition to SB 557, which is being heard today in the Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The bill would increase taxes on distilled spirits by 200 percent to $4.50 per gallon, raise taxes on beer to 27 cents per gallon and wine to $1.20 per gallon. “Responsible consumers of beverage alcohol already pay more than their fair share of taxes,” said Wojnar, who pointed out that nearly 50 percent of the average cost of a 750 ml bottle of spirits in Maryland goes to pay state, local and federal taxes. “With this tax increase, prices would go up another nine percent, punishing both consumers and the hardworking men and women of the hospitality industry.” Economic studies show that additional tax increases will cause consumers to simply spend less or purchase their products at a lower price across state lines. This means job losses in Maryland’s hospitality industry and a loss of sales to bordering states. More than 27,000 Marylanders are employed by hotels, tourist sites, bars and restaurants. “It makes little sense to spend tax dollars to promote tourism and then attack the industry with higher tax rates on beverage alcohol,” said Wojnar. “The total loss, between decreased sales and sales lost to other states, would be nearly nine percent of the entire state volume of beverage alcohol purchases.” -30- CONTACT: Public Affairs Department Telephone: (202) 682-8840 SCROLLER Publication Name: Publication Author:


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