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Maryland lawmakers propose alcohol tax hike for health plan

September 16th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Maryland lawmakers and health care advocates proposed increasing the state’s alcohol tax on Wednesday to generate millions of dollars to address health disparities, which have been highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Supporters are backing a hike in the state’s sales tax on alcohol from 9% to 10% in 2021. Maryland last raised its sales tax on alcohol in 2011.

“The COVID pandemic has made it even more clear that certain communities, especially communities of color, do not have the health care resources they need, which leads to disturbing health disparities,” said Sen. Antonio Hayes, a Baltimore Democrat who is sponsoring the measure in the state Senate.

Under the proposal, areas with health disparities would be able to compete for grants and tax incentives. They would be called Health Equity Resource Communities.