Mayor To Seek Bottle Tax Increase

City Council members who represent North Baltimore are split about the proposal.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake intends to increase the city’s bottle tax from 2 cents to 5 cents as part of a plan to help pay for new school construction, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Ian Brennan, a spokesman for the mayor, would not confirm the details of the article, but wrote in an email the mayor would be making a “major announcement” on Monday about a plan that will increase the city’s contribution to the school’s capital budget for school construction by 140 percent.

“The only question is which council members will support the mayor’s plan for school construction to help our children,” Brennan wrote in an email.

Councilman Bill Henry, who opposed the initial told Patch on Thursday the only way he can see the mayor getting a bill increasing the bottle tax through the council this session is by amending legislation already submitted by Councilwoman Belinda Conaway that was meant to bring the bottle

Henry said he questioned whether or not such an amendment to the bill would violate a council rule that stipulates an amendment may not change the purpose of a bill.

“It’s an interesting suggestion to take an otherwise unpalatable tax increase that businesses complain puts them at a business disadvantage and to make it palatable link the proceeds to—I won’t say bulletproof—but to a need that is pretty solidly agreed on by everyone,” Henry said. 

Councilman Carl Stokes said the council and the administration need to sit down and find a way to fund school construction without doing it in a piecemeal fashion.

“We can support school construction without taxing more the average citizen of the city. The bottle tax is a regressive tax,” Stokes said.

But Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke told Patch that she supports a bottle tax as part of a way to pay for the $2.8 billion in school construction and improvements needed in Baltimore City.

"As long as it's dedicated to school facility renovations and construction issues," Clarke said. She said she understands that businesses feel the tax places the city at a disadvantage to county businesses, but feels this is a sacrifice that has to be made.

"I don't in anyway dismiss the seriousness of the issues [brought up by businesses]. On the other hand this is not a forever situation because we have a goal to complete the work of Transform Baltimore within five years," Clarke said.

Richard Allen November 11, 2011 at 02:17 PM
BOTTLE TAX? WHY ? She waited until AFTER the election to ask for it !! She is a 2 faced Mayor !
Sun spotter November 11, 2011 at 02:43 PM
What horsemanure. Every tax shoved down the throats of tax payers is "for the children." Where is the Lotto money/ The Staduim Money? All the money we have been told was going to eduucate our children who still attend miserable schools? Just another money grab in the name of children who will not benefit in the long run.
Tom Kiefaber November 11, 2011 at 03:40 PM
It's interesting to watch the stances Bill Henry takes on the issues, and issues he interjects, in his calculations to become the ascended City Council President when SRB moves on mid-term, as is the plan, and Bernard Young ascends to mayor. The media has done us all a disservice by not covering what's been discussed behind the scenes for over a year now. Politics and governing in Baltimore is a phony pageant playing out, and in too many cases our lazy, inept media is knowingly complicit in the process., Occupy TV Hill! ;-)
Sean Tully November 11, 2011 at 07:34 PM
I am still not certain about the bottle tax. I would rather see a bottle tax than a property tax increase. But the city did increase our income taxes, so that's not good either. I really wouldn't mind these taxes if I actually saw the benefits they are affording. Yes, my trash is picked up twice a week. But we also now have rats in my community. But this is the fate of Baltimore City. The non-voters sealed the deal.
Leona MacDonald November 13, 2011 at 02:24 PM
I still say it should be a deposit/refund thing. Elsewhere it is a win win. The city doesn't have to pick up several tons of glass and plastic bottles and jobs are created with recycling centers. You don't have the litter, schools can coodinate bottle drives and get docnations of bottles from the community as can other charities. When a littlebug drops a bottle on the street someone is more than happy to collect it and get that deposit. A tax does little to cut the giant cost of trash collection....which the city had to cut services. AND may I add that not everyone does the recycling thing..all that stuff goes into the trash and it's a waste.
ralahinn1 November 13, 2011 at 02:55 PM
I agree with Leona, I made a lot of walking around money as a child returning bottles, it teaches children irresponsibility as well as the other good things already mentioned. Even homeless people can make a little change.
ralahinn1 November 13, 2011 at 09:41 PM
I meant to say responsibility,lol


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