Thomas Schaller, Political Science, in the Baltimore Sun

In his Baltimore Sun column, “The (Occasional) Virtues of Nickel-and-Diming,” Thomas Schaller, associate professor of political science, says, “despite my reflexive opposition to such small-change taxation, the new dime-per-drink tax and a proposed nickel-per-shopping-bag fee in Maryland are both good ideas.” Why? Schaller argues that the bag tax has a double benefit of reducing plastic bag consumption and generating a small amount of revenue to help fund pollution clean-up. “Unlike the bag tax, which is designed to change behavior, the alcohol tax is designed to make change—10 cents at a time—from the relatively inelastic consumption of alcohol because most people will continue to drink, regardless of the tax rate,” he says.

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