Permit me to respond to the article about the proposed Health Equity Resource Communities initiative, "Bill could lead to higher alcohol taxes on businesses, Feb. 1.
I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Asian American Center of Frederick, a local not-for-profit organization which addresses health equity issues in Western Maryland. AACF's initiatives include direct outreach and education, such as an ongoing program which trains community health workers to serve our population.
Public health advocates believe that this meager 1 percent increase in Maryland's alcohol tax would be highly influential in funding increased benefits to those on the receiving end of health services, while imposing minimal impact upon the liquor-buying public. (If anything, the tax increase on alcoholic beverages might play a modest role in reducing excessive drinking.)
Despite claims that this proposal is regressive, the benefits from the greater tax can clearly be described as progressive, because they provide support to communities what have suffered from disinvestment.
A penny per dollar represents a negligible tax increase on a non-essential item. Yet the aggregate proceeds can go a long way in directing assistance to communities what have been hard-hit by the pandemic.