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Baltimore Mayor’s Proposed Bottle Tax Hike To Pay For School Construction

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Another Baltimore City tax increase. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wants to raise the city’s two-cent bottle tax to five cents a bottle.

Political Reporter Pat Warren has the reason for the proposal.

Since 2010, consumers and the beverage industry have been putting their two cents in. That’s when the bottle tax took effect. Now the mayor wants to raise it to a nickel’s worth on every bottle sold to pay for school construction.

“And we’re going to make sure we use this money to make sure the facilities match the greatness of the kids that are there,” Rawlings-Blake said.

But a spokesman for local retailers tells WJZ that at five cents a bottle, he thinks the mayor’s concern for Baltimore businesses isn’t worth a plug nickel.

“It’s a total disrespect by our mayor, and in my opinion, it is an abuse of power,” Rob Santoni, owner of Santoni’s Supermarket, said.

Just four weeks ago, a council committee considered repealing the two-cent tax. The mayor wants to quash any repeal, and more than double what the beverage industry has already claimed as a hardship.

“The beverage association doesn’t like it but they’re not responsible for building schools,” Rawlings-Blake said. “We are.”

Consumers also have an opinion.

“I am totally against it,” said one consumer.

“We’re charged enough taxes as it is,” said another.

But the proposal will move forward.

The tax hike requires City Council approval. The mayor’s plan will be presented to City Council on Monday.

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