This morning as I was driving to work, I heard an ad about the Baltimore Bottle tax. It’s been getting non-stop radio play, especially on black radio, about stopping the bottle tax because of the strain it would put on “working families” i.e., poor people, the hood, low income residents and other colorful codenames used to describe black people. In it, the announcer spoke of how unfair it was for the poor to bear the burden of the bottle tax. I thought to myself, man, those bottle lobbyist are real good! Getting people worked up over 4 measly cents that they won’t miss anyway, makes me feel like i’m contributing to something right?
Actually, the Bottle Tax was proposed by the current mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to help balance the budget. This would raise $11 million dollars and help keep firefighters, the police, summer programs and recreational parks open. It exempts economy sized drinks such as 2 liter bottles and milk and juice. See, every little bit helps. She’s also proposing a energy tax that would add 60 cents a month to your bill and a phone tax adding 50 cents. But if you heard what I hear on the radio constantly as well as seen ads on televison, one would think that the opposition was strongly against it. Actually, not even close. The I-team(wbaltv) conducted an unscientific survey of about 503 Baltimore residents and found that 59% found the tax acceptable while 37% found it unacceptable. The city council, including council president Jack Young, shelved the proposal and came up with their own proposal. Theirs include a tax on billboard advertising, raising parking meters to $2 and hour, and an increase in the license fee forcompanies that have video poker machines that could bring in $5 million in revenue. It may or may not work. I know for certain that I will not be paying $2 an hour just to park downtown for 30 minutes. Some business owners have even griped that it would hurt their business so much that folks would go rather go out to the county to purchase bottled drinks than in the city. In DC, they have a similiar proposal, but for a 1-cent per ounce tax on soda. And it too has received vocal opposition from local restaurants and businesses. But it’s on soda people!??!!! You know, the stuf that’s loaded with sugar, that will make you gain weight and cause health problems down the road? The one where it’s bottles are always littered in the streets and fill up our landfills because they are not biodegradeable??
This has more to do with our priorities for the moment than who’s gonna be hurt the most. I’d rather pay the 4 extra cents on drinks that are probably not good for me anyway to have an extra cop on my block. Or to have somewhere my daughter can be able to play. Or to not see bottles floating in the Inner Harbor. You know, important stuf. Since when did public safety become about maintaing your bottome line? Here’s a dose of reality to the city council and the other businesses and entities opposed to the bottle tax..10 PEOPLE WERE MURDERED OVER A HOLIDAY WEEKEND. It sure would be nice to have that cop walking my block or that fireman putting out that fire next door. Other states such as Maine, California and Hawaii have a 5 cent tax on all bottled drinks. This would seem like a small step for individuals to become a little more involved. Unfortunately the tax was voted down by city council. But at least I don’t have to pay 4 cents on my $1.79 pepsi. YAY!