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Mayor Introduces Bottle Tax Hike

The Better Schools Initiative is Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake' plan to leverage $300 million in bonds for schools.

UPDATED (8 p.m.)—On Monday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake introduced controversial legislation to raise the “bottle tax” to 5 cents to the Baltimore City Council.

Rawlings-Blake announced her intention to raise the tax from its current 2-cents when she for the Better School Initiative in November. The tax increase is part of a package to leverage $300 million in bonds for school construction and renovation.

The mayor’s school construction initiative also depends on $1.7 million annually—about 10 percent of estimated revenues—from a Video Lottery Terminal facility that has yet to be built. The city will also continue to contribute $17 million in bond proceeds annually, according to a news release.  

The ACLU of Maryland has estimated that it will take $2.8 billion in renovations and new school construction to bring city schools up to par. Baltimore City has the oldest school facilities in the state.

During the hearing Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, chair of the council's Education Committee, said the amount of deferred maintenance and new school construction was intimidating. 

"It is a high, high mountain to up to $2.8 billion," Clarke said.

Councilman Carl Stokes, who represents parts of Charles Village and Remington, said he would be keeping is vote on the bill close to his chest. Stokes, the chairman of the Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee, said he expected the bills to get a hearing in his committee in late April or early May. 

AnnKangarouse February 28, 2012 at 04:45 PM
So... SRB continues to give carte blanche to "certain folks" and turns away from millions of dollars of income that we really need, but seems to continually make us pay the price. It starts at home Steffie. Be a leader, get some backbone and stop with the excessive spending of tax payer money. And check the BOE records too hon.

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