Study Finds Unintended Consequence of Md.’s Alcohol Tax

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Photo by Gnangarra
Photo by Gnangarra

In 2011, the tax on alcohol sales in Maryland went from 6 percent to 9 percent, and researchers say it’s been preventing almost 1,600 cases of gonorrhea every year.

Researchers at the University of Florida have determined that best explanation for Maryland’s drop in gonorrhea cases (as national rates have risen) is that the state’s increased alcohol tax has decreased consumption, which in turn has decreased “risky sexual behavior.”

The Baltimore Sun¬†reports doubts from the likes of a policy analyst at the Maryland Public Policy Institute (dedicated to “free enterprise, limited government, and civil society”) and a lobbyist for the Licensed Beverage Distributors of Maryland, but Staras said an alternative explanation for the drop in gonorrhea cases “would have to be something we didn’t find that was big and timed around the same time as the tax change,” concluding that she was “pretty confident in the findings.”

I’m no analyst myself, but I’m pretty sure this means that we may have a shot at taxing ourselves into celibacy. But it’s an awesome power we wield, and we ought to be careful with it.

The Sun reports that the study was funded by a Baltimore foundation related to The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

 



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