Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alcohol Tax Redux

Seems the idea of taxing adult beverages to pay for health care has been tried before. Maine passed a law last year to save Dirigo (taxpayer funded health insurance for the poor).
Gov. John Baldacci said Wednesday that he was proud to sign a new law that will use taxes on beer, wine and soda to provide a stable source of funding for Dirigo Health, the program that includes affordable health coverage for some Mainers.

In a State House Cabinet Room signing ceremony, Baldacci said Dirigo is essential to helping working families and small businesses that need health insurance.

“This is about people who need help,” he said. “It makes a difference in people’s lives.”

The new law increases the excise tax on large beer and wine manufacturers, and puts a new tax on syrup used to make soft drinks. It also takes $5 million from the state’s tobacco settlement money and borrows $3.6 million from the state General Fund.

In addition, it assesses a 1.8 percent surcharge on paid insurance claims.
We have looked at Dirigo before.
The law will provide Dirigo with $49.6 million next year, an amount that increases to $58 million in future years.
Sounds like a plan. Only one problem . . .
The Repeal the Dirigo Tax Referendum was a veto referendum question that appeared on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Maine as an attempt to overturn the new Dirigo Tax bill that had been approved by the Maine state legislature and signed by Maine's governor. The November 4 vote succeeded at overturning the tax.
Looks like the pitchfork and torch crowd had something to say about it.

Just another stupid government trick.
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