BALTIMORE - Kevin Vaughn shops at Bi-Rite in Northeast Baltimore. On Sunday night, he stopped in for a case of water.
If Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has her way, every bottle may soon cost three cents more. For a case, that's 72 cents.
"It's just going to take consumers cross county lines," said Kevin Vaughn, who opposes the bottle tax.
We measured it, from the store to the county line is less than a mile. City shoppers are facing another possible bottle tax hike.
Fewer than two years ago, two cents was added to most bottles and cans. Now the mayor hopes to bring it up to a nickel. City estimates show 10 million dollars would go to repair schools.
The bill has been held up in a council committee. However on Monday, the council will vote to bring it out.
Last Thursday, during a different hearing, Council President Jack Young said he will switch his vote since the mayor opposes his budget plan.
"There are some things that I agreed that I would support like the bottle tax. And I'm just letting you know I have a right to re-examine my position and on the bottle tax I will be voting no," said Council President Young.
A no vote will not make a difference, according to the mayor’s spokesman who says there are enough votes for the bill to pass.
City grocers say a tax hike will continue to hurt business. The owner of Bi-Rite, which has been around for over 50 years, says beverage sales are down by five percent since January.
"It's going to be somewhere. If it wasn't for the cigarettes and gas maybe it's the bottles," said Syble Wilkins, who opposes the bottle tax.
We have also learned a local retailer has offered a tax plan without hurting the beverage industry.
The city council will vote to bring the bill out of committee on Monday. The final vote will come in two weeks.
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