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Bottle Tax

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NEWS
June 22, 2010
Being a proud Baltimore native living in Los Angeles these past 15 years, I was surprised, outraged and down right flabbergasted by all the ridiculous hyperbole surrounding the new 2 cent bottle tax. I laughed aloud when I read that Councilwoman Helen Holton called it "a dark day for Baltimore" and Councilman Nicholas D'Adamo said he was "ashamed" to be on the council. Grow up, children! These comments show just how juvenile and petty elected officials can be. I particularly enjoyed a comment in The Sun earlier in the week where a councilman said that the tax (then 4 cents)
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NEWS
August 2, 2014
Your story about the closure of the last Stop Shop Save grocery stores in Baltimore is yet another sad example of why the city should move to repeal the bottle tax ( "Stop Shop Save to close remaining Baltimore locations," July 22). The bottle tax is hurting independent grocery stores like Stop Shop Save. This legislation, which exists nowhere else in the country, has made it nearly impossible for city-based grocers to compete with stores across the county line that don't have to pay the tax. The beverage container tax was increased on July 1, 2013, by 3 cents for every bottle and can of water, iced tea, soft drinks and juices.
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NEWS
June 17, 2010
There are a number of reasons why the bottle tax should be passed. The obvious one is to bring in more tax revenue for which the city so desperately needs. Secondly, it may cause a child or an adult to think twice about buying one of those sugary beverages that add more calories to their diet — calories they do not need. The argument that such a city tax would drive consumers to the county for those purchases doesn't make much sense — the cost of gasoline for the round trip would most likely exceed the small savings on tax-free beverages.
NEWS
May 12, 2014
Regarding your recent editorial on the collapse in Chesapeake Bay crabs ( "Bay crab population decreases," May 1), another rain tax, gas tax, bottle tax, drink tax, luxury tax, crab imperial tax, Three Stooges tax, iPhone tax and iPad tax should fix the problem. Joseph Brugh - To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com . Please include your name and contact information.
NEWS
February 16, 2012
If you have a package good store near the county line, Baltimore MayorStephanie Rawlings-Blake's proposed 5-cent bottle tax is not a nickel ("Mayor pushes school repairs," Feb. 14). Applying the tax to a 30-pack of beer would cost the city consumer $1.50 more plus a  15-cent sales tax on a tax. The nickel is now $1.65 more than the county! I agree that nickel is no big deal on a single item, but when you buy a bulk package, which is how beverages are sold in a package store, that nickel is devastating and prevents us from being competitive.
NEWS
June 9, 2010
Thanks to the gutless city council, all of the advertising money spent by the beverage industry has paid off by defeating the bottle tax. Instead of a tax that would at least partially (if not mostly) raise money from people coming into the city and on goods that are either not good for your health (sugar drinks) or for the environment (plastic bottles), now we have a plan with more taxes that affect only residents. We have an increase in the income tax rate, increase on telephone line taxes, and a reduction to early property tax payment discounts.
NEWS
October 16, 2013
I am no economist but I fail to see why the bottle tax has been so disastrous to Santoni's Supermarket in Highlandtown while apparently sparing other city markets ( "Santoni's closing Highlandtown store," Oct. 13). (Make no mistake: My mobile friends loved Santoni's. Being on the less mobile side, I walk to Fresh and Green's when I need produce.) I have to ask if it could it possibly be that Santoni's has been charging more than its competitors for sodas and other items, leaving Mrs. Raven and Miss Oriole to load up on Santoni's hand-butchered meat and great pies and then, on the way home, swing by Safeway to fill up the car trunk with 7Up, Pepsi and the like - all on sale or cheaper, tax or no tax. And, yes, I am cynical, but did Santoni's lose money by giving transportation to low-income residents of city "food deserts" who wanted to peruse his expensive soda stocks?
NEWS
April 26, 2012
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's proposed 5-cent bottle tax can add up quickly. For example, five 12-packs of Diet Coke can be bought on sale for $10. Sixty cans times 5 cents equals $3. Add to that the 6 percent sales tax - 60 cents - and the total becomes $13.60. That's why I think city residents will soon find themselves buying sodas and alcohol in the county. Dave Edington
NEWS
November 19, 2011
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake seems to think raising the container tax on soft drinks is creative ("Rawlings-Blake calls on council to adopt bottle tax hike," Nov. 14). Just keep taxing the average Joe out of Baltimore. Is that a really good plan? Here is a better idea. Eliminate deputy mayors, make developers pay property tax on what they build and eliminate the Baltimore Development Corporation. I am sure there is more cutting to be done, but these are some easy ways to reduce waste in government quickly without more taxes.
NEWS
June 17, 2012
Regarding the bottle tax proposal ("Bottle tax rise gains in council" June 12): I grew up in New York State, where a five-cent tax on bottles has been on the books for at least 15 years. Nobody even thinks twice about it there; the tax is simply a small amount of money raised for a purpose that benefits everyone. I can't recall hearing anyone consider moving to Pennsylvania in order to avoid paying an extra 60 cents for a 12-pack of Pepsi. It's simply not that big a deal. Here in Baltimore, we have Councilman Warren Branch, who said of the bottle tax, "Instead of luring 10,000 people to the city, we're going to lose 10,000 people.
NEWS
By Jean Marbella, The Baltimore Sun | October 19, 2013
When Santoni's announced last week that it was closing its remaining grocery store after more than 80 years in the business, the news sent something of a shiver through Michele Speaks-March. Not only did she grow up near the old Santoni's in Dundalk, she herself was doing what owner Rob Santoni said was no longer viable: run a small, family-owned grocery in the city. Santoni said the city's bottle tax is the sole reason for closing the Highlandtown grocery store his family opened in 1930 — it adds a nickel to the price of every bottle or can, something shoppers can easily avoid by driving a few extra miles and minutes over the county line.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun | October 18, 2013
A second vendor has filed a lawsuit against Santoni's Supermarket, a Highlandtown institution that said earlier this week it will be forced to close because of Baltimore's bottled-beverage tax. G. Cefalu & Bro. Inc., a 100-year-old fruit and vegetable vendor based in Jessup, said in court documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore that the company delivered $203,198 worth of produce to Santoni's from June 1 to Sept. 23, all of which remains unpaid. The East Lombard Street grocer, founded in the early 1930s and which at one time had as many as a dozen locations, said Sunday that it will be forced to close at the end of the month.
NEWS
October 16, 2013
I am no economist but I fail to see why the bottle tax has been so disastrous to Santoni's Supermarket in Highlandtown while apparently sparing other city markets ( "Santoni's closing Highlandtown store," Oct. 13). (Make no mistake: My mobile friends loved Santoni's. Being on the less mobile side, I walk to Fresh and Green's when I need produce.) I have to ask if it could it possibly be that Santoni's has been charging more than its competitors for sodas and other items, leaving Mrs. Raven and Miss Oriole to load up on Santoni's hand-butchered meat and great pies and then, on the way home, swing by Safeway to fill up the car trunk with 7Up, Pepsi and the like - all on sale or cheaper, tax or no tax. And, yes, I am cynical, but did Santoni's lose money by giving transportation to low-income residents of city "food deserts" who wanted to peruse his expensive soda stocks?
NEWS
October 15, 2013
In a July 2011 interview with the Baltimore Business Journal, Rob Santoni Jr. admitted that his store had been paying the bottle tax instead of passing it on to consumers. So if the actual prices of beverages didn't increase, are we supposed to believe that consumers stopped shopping at Santoni's just because of their opposition to the idea of a bottle tax ("Highlandtown Santoni's folds," Oct. 14)? If their opposition to the tax was that strong, wouldn't they be more likely to support its most outspoken critic?
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | October 15, 2013
Facing criticism from a struggling local business, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake defended the city's bottle tax Tuesday as essential to rebuilding Baltimore's schools. But the mayor acknowledged she would have to suspend a program that delivers fresh produce to poor neighborhoods because of the closing of the supermarket, Santoni's. Santoni's, an 83-year-old Highlandtown grocer, announced this week it would close its doors at the end of this month solely because of the city's bottled-beverage tax. Rob Santoni Jr., the company's chief financial officer, said he is in talks to bring in another supermarket and plans to run for a House of Delegates seat in Baltimore County to give small businesses a stronger voice in Annapolis.
NEWS
October 15, 2013
Like many Baltimoreans, we were saddened by the recent announcement that Santoni's Supermarket in Highlandtown plans to close its doors at the end of the month and lay off more than 80 employees. Santoni's has been a venerable neighborhood institution since the 1930s, and over that time it has built a loyal following among customers. These are difficult times for small businesses of all kinds, and particularly for independent grocers who operate on thin margins and face increasing competition not only from traditional chains like Giant, Safeway and Harris Teeter but also from discount warehouses and stores like Walmart and Target.
NEWS
September 8, 2011
The tax on beverage containers is failing Baltimore consumers and businesses from small retailers to larger supermarkets just like it did last time ("Don't smash the bottle tax," Sept. 1). As part of the broader Stop the Baltimore City Beverage Tax coalition, we are working to educate consumers and policymakers about the harmful effects of that this tax has had on city residents and businesses. This tax is regressive and hurts the most those who can least afford it. Retailers in Baltimore should not be penalized with lost business due to people driving to the suburbs to avoid the tax. This tax further squeezes families that are already struggling to make ends meet.
NEWS
October 15, 2013
It is sad to hear that a local business, Santoni's Supermarket, will be closing after more than eight decades serving the people of southeast Baltimore ("Highlandtown Santoni's folds," Oct. 14). Not only are 80 people going to be out of jobs, but now another Baltimore neighborhood faces life in a food desert, all too common of a problem in our city. Santoni's has been in business since the tail end of the Great Depression, stayed in business through food rationing of World War II, though white flight of the '60's and '70's, and countless recessions, including the Great Recession of which some of the effects can still be felt.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | October 15, 2013
An independent grocer's profit margin is so slim that Baltimore's bottled-beverage tax may be to blame for the pending demise of Santoni's Supermarket, industry experts said Monday. "It was, in my opinion, a prime factor" said Jeff Metzger, publisher of Food World, a regional grocery industry newspaper based in Columbia. "Of all the retailers doing business in the city, their No. 1 issue would be the unfairness of the bottle tax. " Santoni's, a Highlandtown grocer, announced Sunday that it would close its doors at the end of this month solely because of the city's bottled-beverage tax. That tax, according to chief financial officer Rob Santoni Jr., reduced the East Lombard Street store's sales by about 18 percent since its adoption in July 2010.
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