Statement by Vincent DeMarco President, Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2011
In a great victory for public health in Maryland, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee today voted favorably on life-saving legislation to increase an alcohol specific tax for the first time in forty years. Sponsored by Senators Verna Jones-Rodwell and Rich Madaleno, Senate Bill 994 will over the next three years, by reducing underage drinking and alcohol abuse, save numerous lives and lessen by over 10,000 the number of harming alcohol related incidents.
We strongly urge the full Senate and the House of Delegates to join in passing this measure. We also strongly urge the Governor and the General Assembly to use the money raised by SB 994 to fund the critical health care and community service needs laid out in our original Lorraine Sheehan proposal (sponsored by Senators Jones-Rodwell and Madaleno and Delegate Jim Hubbard).
We also urge the General Assembly to add an additional one percent tax on alcohol to be consumed on the premises as the District of Columbia already does. These new revenues should fund state health care needs and health care worker training, as well as programs for people with developmental disabilities and mental health needs, and state programs to reduce addiction to alcohol, drugs and tobacco.