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Maryland Alcohol Tax: Drinking Will Cost More Starting Today

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Maryland's 10-cent alchohol tax goes into effect July 1.
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Maryland's 10-cent alchohol tax goes into effect July 1.

After trying for several years, supporters of the increasing the tax finally succeeded in Annapolis, though not all of the money raised by the hike will go to mental health programs as they wished.

For the first year, a sizable chunk of revenue will go to school construction.

But in addition to new revenues, supporters say the tax hike will also lead to a drop alcohol addiction and related crimes.

David Jernigan of Johns Hopkins University studies alcohol tax policy, and he says Maryland's new tax will even effect those not old enough to buy alcohol.

"Underage people, particularly the older ones, they're getting the alcohol by giving money to adults to buy it, getting it themselves through illegal buys," he says. "The literature shows that young people, if anything, are more price sensitive than the rest of the population, and an alcohol tax hike will influence them just like it will everyone else."

Several bar owners in Bethesda, home to the largest bar district in Montgomery County, say they aren't sure how big the impact will be on their business.

That's because the last alcohol tax increase of any kind in Maryland happened in 1972, long before nearly all of them owned their establishments.

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