Ten Cents Nonsense!

Dear Readers,
They want to raise taxes on BOOZE!!!
This time, it’s PERSONAL! This means war! Fetch the bottle!
The city council voted unanimously Feb. 14 in support of a proposed state law to hike alcohol taxes.
What kind of politician votes to raise alcohol taxes? One that doesn’t get re-elected, we hope!

State legislators asked for Takoma Park’s support for this REGRESSIVE tax, and the council went right along with them. Oh, they soft-peddled it as merely “ten cents a drink” but that’s a wily way to make the tax look small.
Actually, it would hike the state alcohol tax from $1.50 to $10.03 per gallon for distilled spirits, from 40 cents to $2.96 per gallon for wine, and from 9 cents to $1.16 per gallon for beer.
Even at 10¢ a drink, it would add about $2 to Your Gilbert’s average bar tab! That’s $28 – $52 a week! This is outrageous! Fetch another bottle!
Finger of Guilt
They hid their dirty work under a sanctimonious name, calling it
The Lorraine Sheehan Health and Community Services Act of 2011. Allegedly, the tax revenues will be designated for goody-good public services, specifically addiction programs. While they pick your pocket they point the accusing finger of guilt at you! As if enjoying a glass of wine with your meal enables addiction.
A more accurate name would be The Desperate Attempt to Get All The Money We Can Without Raising Income Taxes Act of 2011. What’s going on here is that the state’s tax revenues are way down due to the economy. Takoma Park will get shafted along with all the other counties and cities who get a share of those meager state revenues.
That’s why the city council is going along with this farce. It is in the best interests of the city to help the state raise more revenue. Raising state income taxes – which would share the burden among all taxpayers in proportion to their income – is politically infeasible. So, our state delegates and state senator are all behind this, our countilmembers behind them. Self-described progressives all (or most) of them, but not when money is involved, it seems. Does that make them “pregressives?”
Why Stop There?
Using the thin justification of social costs, Your Gilbert can think of more unfair regressive taxes. Maybe if there are enough of them it would have the same effect as a progressive, income-based tax hike.
Video games, for instance – there’s an addiction with a huge social cost: the care and rehabilitation of an entire generation of socially-inept slackers.
How about sunbathing? Why should society take on the costs of selfishly-induced skin cancer?
And then there’s food! If people didn’t eat food they wouldn’t excrete it, and society wouldn’t have to shoulder the cost of public sewage and treatment. See how those food addicts have burdened us!
We have lots more ideas. State legislators, you know how to reach us!
State legislators get up to a lot of mischief, so the city council keeps an eye on them in case they kick Takoma Park in the pants when we’re not looking. When legislation affects or interests the city council, it gives Annapolis a thumbs up or down, and hopes they notice. They must notice it sometimes, because occasionally our local legislators ask the city to support their bills, even if they don’t much effect the city.
For example the council voted in support of a bill that would make passing a “Financial Literacy” class a requirement for high school graduation.
The council’s interest is obvious for supporting a bill that would require county, state, and federal agencies to pay storm water fees to municipalities. The would get the city a nice pile of cash from the county community college.
A proposed change to election law has the council perplexed. It moves the line beyond which electioneering is not allowed from its current 100 feet to 25 feet. Council and staff didn’t know what it is meant to accomplish, and nobody in Annapolis bothered to tell them. Maybe the centipede lobby was behind it. The council gave that one a thumbs down.
Be Afraid
The council is fearfully watching how our state legislators are going to deal with funding the budget. They are being tempted to take revenue from transportation funds, which are a source of city revenue.
They are also keeping an eye on a proposal to create a special authority to run the forthcoming Purple Line. They have no idea yet whether that would be a good or bad thing.

– Gilbert

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.