Campaign For Baltimore Bottle Tax Sparks Debate

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A soda could soon cost you more in Baltimore. The City Council is considering a bill to once again raise the bottle tax to help fund city school construction.

Monique Griego has more from both sides.

The bill would boost the bottle tax to a nickel in the city. It was just introduced Monday night and it’s already getting a fiery response from both sides.

A battle is brewing over bottles.

“We owe our children at least five cents,” said one supporter.

“We’re going to lose sales. We’re going to lose customers,” said an opponent.

The City Council heard a bill to raise the bottle tax from two cents to five cents. The money would help fix crumbling classrooms throughout the city.

“Our kids deserve better and sometimes it takes a tough decision to make sure that we provide a way forward,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The mayor estimates the tax could bring in an extra $10 million a year. Supporters say it’s an investment city schools need desperately.

“There’s rats running around. It’s hot; it’s 90 degrees in some classrooms. It’s not a conducive learning environment,” said Rev. Glenna Huber.

“Frankly, the city has not empowered our children to succeed. It’s actually done the opposite; it’s set them up for failure,” said Arika Gonzales, supports bottle tax.

But many business owners are rallying against the bottle tax, saying it will hurt their bottom line.

“It’s really too much; we’re at the tipping edge,” said one opponent.

They say the two-cent tax already in place has lost jobs and sent customers to the county.

“The two-cent tax really hit us hard. Now they want to go to five cents; it’s going to double the impact,” said Tim Goins.

But with $2.8 billion needed to fix city schools, supporters say they have to start somewhere. Now it’s up to the council to decide.

A hearing will be held for the public to comment on the bottle tax increase. If approved, it would go into effect in July 2013.

Both the mayor and schools CEO will head to Annapolis Tuesday to testify about school construction.

  • Follow TheLight

    I like the comment about paying something forward for our kids. But im an adult now and I know how corrupt & irresponsible our entire government body is all the way from the state to the federal levels. If they take more money, they will waste more money. More taxes isnt the answer. If they want more taxes then take the taxes from the people that are eating up huge portions of our state budget, violent drunks and peaceful potheads. Tax pot and increase the tax on booze If it wasnt for the drunks we’d have no need for 40-60% of our police force. And if it wasnt for the state spending $3000- to arrest one peaceful pothead or $50,000 to lock one up for a year then we’d have money to burn.

  • ballsohardclub

    That’s it Ms Mayor. Keep taxing the people right out of this stinking smell crime ridden city. There are two types that live here, The gated all white communities that have taken over the waterfront & who pay the majority of the city’s taxes & the blacks who make up the welfare crowd with their hands out & committing crime.

    • rtyer

      from the time city first talked about bottle tax. beverage companies have raised price of a 20 oz soda from $1.29 to $1.69. 35% of medical costs in this country are from obese people. sodas are one of the main causes. Tax is not high enough. outlaw sodas as dangerous

  • Rob M

    This is the usual Democrat mantra. Raising taxes is the solution to every problem, and if people disagree, then use children and schools as the pawns to make opponents seem heartless. This is and always been how Democrats operate. As long as cities blindly vote Domocrat, this is what you get.

  • stringer bell

    It’s five cents for god’s sake. Get over it, Go over the state line to PA, see how nice their schools are because they are well funded. Invest in your children’s future. Look under your couch cushions or car seat, you’ll probably find about $4.57 in loose change. That’ll cover the increase cost for quite some time. People getting all hot and bothered over five cents, insanity. And I don’t buy it for a minute that the city businesses will lose customers. Yeah right, like someone will drive an additional 5 miles to save 5 cents when gas prices are almost $4/ga. Get real. You could pass this tax, and if no one was told, no one would even notice. PLUS, shop smarter! I could go to the vending maching and buy a 20 oz coke for $1.75 OR I could go to the grocery store and get a 2L for 89 cents.


      for me its not about the 5 cents. I am all for investing in our children’s future, however the money will not go there and I think this is the problem most people have, my house for one doesn’t really drink soda, but we drink a lot of bottled water, I would not care if they raised it 5 cents if they put it where they say, but all the taxes they have raised and said oh its for the schools, parks etc… they lie, the schools, parks etc, are still a mess. so if they would stop lying and put the money to good use and help the schools, then most people would not care, but all they do is give their selves raises and a nice monthly income for a former mayor that stole from the wonderful city that elected her! how is that right that she still gets paid? put that money into the schools. I know for damn sure if I stole from my job, they surely would not continue to pay me after I was let go!

  • yousefthe giant

    Stringer Bell, U stupid prick, what are you a teacher or Rawlings personal aide?

    • stringer bell

      I am a tea bagger like you.

  • PS

    Ok, so It’s 5 cents X every bottle X years and years …. WHAT happened to the tax money that’s been paid for decades that was supposed to be used for schools? Teachers salaries are lower (NO, I’m not a teacher), some lay-offs, people without jobs, city services are less (trash pick up 1 time per week – they get the money from all of our recycle products) – bottle tax, alcohol tax, property tax, tolls, fees, when does it end? WHEN will THEY be held accountable, financially and morally, for the money they waste. Maybe they should kick in some of their campaign contributions or give up taxpayer paid trips to hair salons to use for these things.


      I just wish there was a like button! I could not agree more, I would pay the 5 cents willingly if they ever placed it where it was suppose to go!

  • PS

    WHERE do you get soda for 89 cents? Unless it’s an off brand, even on sale its usually 4 for $5 which is over $1 per bottle.


    Stringer bell, I live in Baltimore City and I drive every week to Baltimore County to do my grocery shopping. I do not mind spending extra money for gas. I have a small, reliable car that is good on gas. In addition, it is paid for. I will not support a tax that will cost individuals their jobs. Unemployment is already at an all time high.

  • Card

    I would not worry about the 5 cents!!!
    The misuse of Tax money!!
    Remember when the Lottery was new??
    They said that was going for the Schools!!

    Damn Politicians


    TO ballsohardclub, You are ignorant. I am black, live in Baltimore City, and I probably pay more taxes than you make in a year. So, every black person in Baltimore City is NOT ON WELFARE. Get your facts straight. To your disappointment, I have never received a handout and have never committed a crime.

    • freddie

      Reality check, You sir then must be that statue of the king coon standing in Druid hill park. Enjoy the pigeons sucka.

  • Follow TheLight

    Take a few minutes and look at the details of the budget people if you want to see where all of this money is going. I assure you its not going to the school system. And of the little bit that does 60% is lost on the way to pay a massive, ineffective beauracratic mess.

  • Jerry

    Why the hell doesn’t anyone come out and say it. We need new school’s in the city cause the idiot in DC and the idiot in Annapolis made Baltimore a haven for illegals and we need more schools the them.

  • camo

    I’ll be all for that nickel tax as soon as they tell me where that fifty six million dollars the school system lost went to.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Track Weather On The Go With Our App!

Listen Live