BALTIMORE -- Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has proposed raising Baltimore's tax on bottled beverages from 2¢ to 5¢ to help fund school construction and repairs.
The mayor's plan would combine the revenue from the higher bottle-tax proceeds -- estimated at $11 million a year -- with savings from changes in the city's contribution to school system costs and a portion of profits from a planned slots casino. The total $23.8 million in funding would be used to renovate and replace aging buildings.
The proposal exempts milk, juice, dairy substitutes and "economy size" containers two liters or larger.
The current 2¢ tax was approved by Baltimore's City Council last year, after months of fierce opposition from retailers and the beverage industry. If the higher bottle tax is approved, the plan would be in place beginning July 2013. The 2¢ tax is set to end three years after its passage, but the 5¢ levy would be permanent.