BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The mayor’s proposal to increase the bottle tax to pay for school construction had tempers flaring at the City Council Monday night.

Andrea Fujii has more on both sides of the issue.

While business owners feel they’re being targeted by the city, there are a lot of people who want that money to go to the schools.

First they took to the streets, armed with cash and a voice. Then Monday night, BUILD came carrying nickels as they tried to convince the City Council to raise the bottle tax. But, with the slam of a gavel, they were turned away.

“We’re saying our children are worth five cents,” said Terrell Williams.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wants to increase the bottle tax from two to five cents to help pay for school improvements.

“Now is the time to make tough choices to support our students,” Rawlings-Blake said.

It’s pictures that motivate BUILD, a community action group.

“The ceiling has falling tiles. There are holes in the ceiling. The floors are cracking under our feet,” Williams said.

But for business owners like Rob Santoni, the issue isn’t whether schools need help, it’s who should pay for it.

“I don’t see where the backs of businesses should bear the burden,” Santoni said.

Santoni’s been fighting the tax since it was first introduced in 2010. He believes an increase could be crushing.

“Loss of sales to surrounding counties, loss of revenue and, most importantly, loss of jobs,” he said.

BUILD, however, doesn’t buy it.

“Have the business owners go into our schools,” Williams said. “Guarantee you none of their businesses look like our buildings in our schools.”

The mayor is expected to formally introduce the bottle tax bill at an upcoming City Council meeting.

The mayor’s goal is to raise an extra $23 million a year for the school budget.

Comments (35)
  1. willie joe says:

    Tax & spend, that’s all the Dems know. Funny how the quality & services never improve with all the tax hikes implemented. Oh, I forgot about the orruption @ city hall & the Mayor shops @ Nordstroms.

  2. John says:

    As a Democrate I would not live in this city nor would I own a business in this city this city just needs a fence all aaround it and just let the dam criminals run it they could do just as good as you all have now Can not wait to move out of Baltimore this place SUCKS Go TEA PARTY no one els can do anything

  3. LaDasha says:

    You people just don’t get it. The mayor is doing a great job. Why would anyone oppose the construction of new schools? So they increase the tax a little, that doesn’t bother me since the money would be used to build schools. Gov. O’Malley and the mayor are doing their best to improve the city and state so get over it.

    1. JJ says:

      And YOU PEOPLE voted her in again, so I don’t want to hear it. You asked for it and you got it!

      1. Wesley Washington says:

        JJ, you got that right; all those who loted for her as well as those of us who didn’t must now pay; UNLESS, people would stand up and have their own vote for a new mayor. ELECTED OFFICIALS, CAN BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE AS EASILY AS THEY WERE PUT IN – BUT THE PEOPLE HAVE FORGOT ABOUT THAT LAW!!

    2. robertryan says:

      People who think something for nothing which of course the local pavement apes are, would think this is a grand idea. Not comming out of their pocket but then again these moolies have no soul.

    3. Spend this! says:

      Yes, LaDasha – when you can prove to the world that is where the money is going, come talk to us then. Until then, it’s tax and fee, fee and tax. Toll increases are supposed to go to highway and transportation improvements. Really? She’s in now for a couple of more years – she doesn’t care now. Trust me – the democrats are only raising taxes, fees and tolls because they don’t want to stop spending and giving out entitlements to people who won’t work and would rather sit home and collect welfare. It’s that simple.

    4. Robert Pickett says:

      ladasha u must like the city stealin your money the mayer is a idiot who only won because no one showed up

    5. RRRT! What? says:

      oh god, please tell me you are being sarcastic…no one could b that stupid.

  4. ciara says:

    Tax the ones with children on their income taxes and take some of the welfare money from people who have all the children. I don’t have any children, why should I pay a tax for schools. This is why I did not vote for her. She is full of lies.

  5. skropk1 says:

    I don’t have a problem with the bottle tax and I’m a democrat with no children… you need to tax to spend and Baltimore City Schools need money to sustain the overall health of the city, more kids in good schools means less kids creeping the vacants and pushing drugs— Republicans think money comes out of thin air, sorry, not everyone can send their kids to private schools.

  6. Pat in the City says:

    NO BIG DEAL….At least this tax will be collected from ALL the residents who choose to purchase bottle products in the CITY (instead of just another tax on the working folk who live in the city, to bear another burden ALONE). This tax hits ALL citizens such as the welfare folk, the Social Security folk, the working folk, and the ILLEGALS. This is the way it should since the people utilizing the the city services and send their children to city schools will be actually be contributing to the fund, THIS TIME.

    1. Although I live in the city, I already grocery shop in the County on a regular basis. There are so many nice markets just over the city / county line.

    2. Santoni’s had a nice grocery market in Dundalk and chose to close it some years back. I loved the store and shopped there weekly, however, when it closed I did not go to the one in HIghlandtown. Quite Honestly, I was too scared to shop in Highlandtown on regular basis by myself, so I went elsewhere in the County.

    Oh on a different, note I just read where Baltimore City was the citizens of Baltimore to foot the bill to replant all the trees that were removed for the GRAND PRIX. HMM I wonder what this tax or fee will be called and when will it be going into effect. I am sure it will not be suggested that the burden fall to the businesses or street vendors that benefited from the GRAND PRIX the most.
    Nah, it will be the working folk, the taxpayers.

  7. Robert Pickett says:

    wish rowlings blake would die already she looks like a pitbull with lipstick how could these baltmorons elect such a dog to office

  8. crazyldy says:

    baltimore is a crackheads paradise. If you are in a drug stuper nothing the polititions do can bother you. You own nothing pay nothing contribute nothing. Thats about 95% of baltimore now.No one cares about baltimore anymore. Its a lost cause.

  9. Jerry says:

    Stop the bottle tax since no-one know’s where the money is really going , and keep the shoppers in the city. Pass the bottle tax and say good bye to allot of shoppers , jobs and business.

  10. Jerry says:

    Like I said Maryland The Best State That Money Can Buy That Goes For The City Too. If you got the money or Hispanic or Black cry hard enough and you’ll get what you want. In the city if your white your put on the waiting list or the outcome is half assed.

    1. T-Bmore says:

      Its easy to hear different perspectives on issues that effect us, but I am so offended when race enters the frey. I have a son fighting in Iraq and I am so tired of people making everything about race in a very negative way. Look, this is about children being educated in safe, comfortable, and positive learning environments. Why do we need to make it about so many ofther things? The buildings are fifty plus years old, we should at least agree that they should be replaced, then we can further discuss how it is paid for.

  11. LCranston says:

    There are many city ordinances, zoning laws and other laws that are not being enforced that are fineable offenses. Why not improve the quality of life of city residents while collecting these fines. Make posting illegal signs in the cities right of way a fineable offense and enforce it. That would get rid of the ugly signs and generate income too. Did you know that parking(storing) commercial vehicles on the city streets overnight is a fineable offense? Before any new taxes how about enforcing the existing lawss.

    1. willie joe says:

      L.Cranston, Good points! I agree.

  12. Wesley Washington says:


  13. Debbie says:

    Unfortunately fixing up the schools would be throwing money away as they would be right back to their current condition in a few years due to the class of people using them. Look at the homes built all around Orleans and Monument streets. Brand new and trashed in just a few years. Dumping money into this City with its current non-tax paying residents is a WASTE. Already the bottle tax has not produced the expected revenue but Tax and Spend Democrats will keep pushing it.

  14. Angloman says:

    What a brilliant plan. How does she come up with such original ideas. Take more money from us. How about not sending paychecks to the incarcerated morones that work for the city. Wake-up, goof-ball.

  15. moleman says:

    Take a good look at this picture, Doesn’t it remind you of the “Planet of the apes”?

  16. Common Sense says:

    Maybe the City should create more contract positions in the Dept of Public Works, specifically clean-up crews. These positions would not have benefits, but would create income for city residents. Also, spend smart. Give up the old, out of date buildings and move into more efficient offices. Use more fuel effiecient vehicles for all parts of government, including the FD and PD. All She is doing is running people out of the City. Demolish all the vacants and sell the properties to developers, but make sure there are storefronts included. There is no point in creating new homes without a source of income nearby.

  17. TZ says:

    Are you Baltimorons really complaining about a five cent tax on bottles of soda? Are you that broke? Are you that addicted to the sugar water that most Americans have stopped drinking? And you’re going to stop shopping in the city because of it? Honestly, just how stupid are you?

    1. Angloman says:

      Try thinking past your nose.

    2. robertryan says:

      TZ, The nickel is not the issue although a nickel here, a dime there & then a quarter soon add up to a lot of money. It is the arrogance & bully type legislation that goes with forcing poor people against their wills.

  18. voice of conscience says:

    Theiving snake gives half a mill to ‘consultants’ (read:kickback), another half of OUR $$$ to ‘developers’ (read:kickback) and lets our streets go to hell with idiots on cellphones/texting, rotten ‘grandprix’ and filthy heshe prostitutes and crackheads everywhere. This has what has become of Baltimore. EVERY MEMBER OF CITY COUNCIL SHOULD BE ROTTING IN PRISON! FOR USING POSITION TO FLEECE US!!

  19. fraught says:

    One man with a shovel, 5 more inside a crew cab pickup truck with the heater on. In 5 years time, the same hole has been opened up to fix the water and sewer lines 12 TIMES!!

    Your problem with this landfill is not people drinking from bottles or the school kids, it’s the citizens that live and work there.

  20. chearts77 says:

    Just about every time they want a tax increase, they use “to fund education” as an excuse for that increase. They know that reasoning will pull at the heartstrings. But, how many times are they going to use that before people wake up and realize that’s not what it’ll be used for? Where’s the money REALLY going?

  21. Stephen Link says:

    Go ahead and pass it stupid.We’ll keep shopping in the county.

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