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News Opinion Readers Respond

Three tax increases that helped save lives

When he launched his GOP primary campaign for governor, Harford County Executive David Craig said he wanted to gradually repeal all of the recently enacted tax increases ("Craig enters the race for governor," June 4). But he should reconsider that when it comes to the three life-saving public health revenue measures Maryland has enacted since 2007.

The $1 cigarette tax increase that took effect in January 2008 has helped reduce smoking in our state by 32 percent — double the national average — and saved tens of thousands of Marylanders from preventable, tobacco-related early deaths.

Moreover, the O'Malley-Brown administration used the money raised by the tobacco tax increase to expand health care to over 100,000 low-income Maryland parents.

Then, in 2011, we raised an alcohol-specific tax for the first time in 40 years. It will save lives by reducing underage drinking. And the money it raised was used to fund critical community service and public health needs such as helping people with developmental disabilities.

Finally, in 2012, the governor and General Assembly enacted a long-overdue measure to protect teens from addiction to little cigars and smokeless tobacco by increasing the tax on these deadly products.

Polls consistently showed that Maryland voters strongly supported all three of these public health revenue measures. Mr. Craig, and other candidates for governor, would be wise to both publicly endorse these life-saving measures and to support proposals that build on their successes.

Vincent DeMarco, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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