The Baltimore Sun editorial "Pepsi Challenge" (Jan. 13) gets it wrong. The Sun makes the assumption that City Council actions have no impact on decisions made by companies. You cannot tax local manufacturing companies, add to operating costs, make their products less competitive and think it doesn't matter!
Just a few months back Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fought hard to institute a $5 million-plus tax on soft drink, water and beer containers to help fund city government operations. Public employee unions rallied for the tax, insisting that two-cents was a small price to pay and the crucial if Baltimoreans are to live in a cleaner and safer city.
Retailers, bottlers, wholesalers and distributors told a different story. Price increases hurt sales, especially when your competitor isn't burdened with a special tax. Consumers are smart and rational in their purchases. They will buy less or buy elsewhere. Depressed sales mean fewer employees, they said.
Unfortunately, the mayor and some on the City Council don't accept the smart shopper concept. Instead, they are satisfied with having city residents who cannot shop outside the city pay more and hurting city-based businessmen and women. But the city is willing to pave streets and displace trees for a car race planned for September 2011. That is wrong and smacks of a "let them eat cake" philosophy.
City leaders need to ask themselves the following question. Do the mayor and City Council believe some jobs are more important than others? Retail and manufacturing jobs are being lost as a result of the container tax. Repeal this tax now before further jobs losses result.
Patrick Donoho, Annapolis
The writer is president of the Maryland Retailers Association.