Another “bottle tax” increase.
Just in time for 4th of July parades, fireworks and cookouts Baltimore City residents will begin paying an additional 3 cents on every soft drink, iced tea, water, juice or beer they purchase.
The so-called “bottle tax” was increased on July 1 to 5 cents per bottle. This follows a 2-cent beverage container tax levied in 2010 that was supposed to be temporary, but now is permanent. Even at the lower level, the tax has been devastating for jobs at local retail and distribution centers that depend in part on the sale of beverages for their livelihood. Now, they fear that the additional levy will slash revenue and force even more job cuts.
While city officials estimated that the initial tax would generate millions of dollars annually, the actual returns have fallen millions of dollars short of that projection. This is because residents are leaving Baltimore City to avoid the tax.
When Baltimore City residents run to the store on July 4th they can thank the mayor and city council for having to dig deeper for their favorite beverages; a 12-pack of soda will cost an additional 60 cents and a case of beer or bottled water will increase $1.20. The increase will land squarely on the shoulders of Baltimore City residents at a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty.
We were sold a bill of goods when the Mayor said that this tax was essential to accomplishing the much needed school construction in Baltimore city. The Maryland General Assembly recently approved a bill that will allow the city to issue more than $1 billion in bonds to finance its proposed school overhaul. In addition, millions of dollars from newly approved casino table games will help finance new school construction in Baltimore City. Suddenly, the revenue stream from the 5-cent tax seems paltry and unnecessary yet its impact on local retail stores and distributors threatens even more jobs and the survival of organizations that have done business in the city for decades.
In the end, did the city really need this tax bad enough to risk jobs, hurt business and nickel and dime its residents?
When it comes to taxes, more is not better.
In 2010, Baltimore City passed a two cent container tax driving up the cost of soft drinks, teas, juices, beer and even bottled water. The tax was supposed to be temporary. But, just two years later, the politicians came back for more, increasing the container tax by 150 percent and making it permanent.
Good-paying jobs have been lost, Baltimore City residents are struggling to pay more and the tax is already failing revenue projections.
Find out more about this ill-conceived tax. The Truth About The Baltimore City
Then, join the coalition and let Baltimore City politicians know that enough is enough!