Stateline Story

Maryland Hikes Sales Tax on Alcohol

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on Thursday (May 19) signed legislation raising the state sales tax on alcohol from 6 percent to 9 percent, effective July 1. The increase will bring in $85 million a year in new revenue and will help pay for public education, school construction and disability aid.

The tax hike is the first one specifically targeting alcoholic beverages in Maryland since 1972. Many advocates saw it as an uphill struggle, given the well-known power of the alcohol industry in Annapolis. " David truly beat Goliath on this one," Aaron Kaufman, a cerebral palsy patient who lobbied for the tax, told The (Baltimore) Sun .

Minority Republicans — who opposed the legislation but were powerless to stop it — criticized the tax increase as just the latest for O'Malley, a Democrat who approved $1 billion in tax increases to deal with a structural deficit in 2007.

"Today, Governor O'Malley and Democratic leaders gleefully broke their word to not raise taxes on Marylanders if re-elected, " Alex X. Mooney, the chair of the Maryland Republican Party, said.