Proposed Delivery Tax Hits Maryland Consumers and Businesses

Maryland considers regressive 50¢ delivery tax

Feb 14, 2024

Maryland lawmakers have introduced delivery tax legislation – HB 1215, by Del. Marc Korman – that would add 50¢ to the cost of every online grocery, retail, and takeout order. The proposed delivery tax is regressive, meaning its impact would fall disproportionately on low-income families, especially Marylanders who live in food deserts or who rely on delivery services for access to fresh groceries.

“For families living on a budget, a fifty-cent tax on every grocery order, takeout order, and online delivery is going to hurt,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich. “We also know that when families pull back on local delivery orders, local businesses take a hit. Maryland lawmakers should learn from the backlash over similar laws in Colorado and Minnesota and find another way to balance their budget.”

A 2023 analysis by Chamber of Progress Senior Economist Kaitlyn Harger found that delivery taxes add more cars and emissions on roadways, limit access for those facing mobility challenges, and hurt small business growth. 

In Colorado and Minnesota, similar delivery taxes have received backlash for raising costs for consumers and hurting local businesses. The Colorado tax is currently subject to a lawsuit for violating voter-approved tax rules. New York lawmakers rejected a proposed delivery tax last year, and progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called them a tax on the poor and working class.

Nearly one in four Baltimore residents lives in a food desert with little access to healthy foods. Lack of access to healthy foods has also decreased since 2021 due to a combination of inflation and cuts to food assistance programs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, grocery prices in the Baltimore area increased 17% between July 2021 and July 2023, a price increase that coincided with an increase in calls for food assistance to United Way’s 211 Maryland Helpline.


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