best interest of the vast majority of the citizens of Maryland as
The provisions of House Bill 570 would eliminate price competi-
tion at the retail level, shifting such competition to the wholesaling
and manufacturing level. Such a shift, in my opinion, invites collu-
sive agreements to the detriment of the consumer. And, while it may
be true that many consumers do not save under the present system,
it is equally true that the opportunity to save does exist now. I
would be most reluctant to deny consumers this opportunity. In this
regard, the State cannot promote the interest of the small liquor
dealer at the expense of the vast majority of citizens.
But, perhaps the most significant reason for my rejection of
House Bill 570 is that this Bill is not consistent with the economic
system that has prevailed in the United States for centuries. For
the State to disregard the laws of supply and demand, for the State
to superimpose its will upon the operations of a free market would
establish a precedent that harbors serious consequences. This year,
we discuss minimum prices for liquor. Will it be bread next year?
Will it be milk the following?
The argument also has been put forth that House Bill 570 would
promote temperance. There is no merit to this argument if one has
in mind confirmed alcoholics. If the proponents of this legislation
are suggesting that it would reduce business activity, then I am not
convinced. Those engaged in the alcoholic beverages industry are
motivated by the same factors that always have motivated economic
man and this does not include reduced business activity.
House Bill 570 would require the State Comptroller to enforce
minimum prices as established by wholesalers and manufacturers.
I do not believe the Comptroller should be placed in this position
particularly when the industry itself, under the Fair Trade Laws,
can take similar action. House Bill 570 also would promote the
illegal transportation of alcoholic beverages across the State line,
particularly in those areas that border the District of Columbia.
Finally, while I have no comment as to the constitutionality of
this legislation, I think it fair to question whether or not liquor
dealers in each County will receive equal treatment inasmuch as
several counties have been exempted from the provisions of this Bill.
For these reasons, I have vetoed House Bill 570.
With kindest personal regards, I am
(s) J. MILLARD TAWES,
House Bill No. 579—Special Tax Zone in Anne Arundel County
AN ACT to add new Sections 28-38 to 28-41 inclusive, to the Anne
Arundel County Code (1957 Edition and 1961 Supplement, being
Article 2 of the Code of Public Local Laws of Maryland), title "Anne