Bottle tax hike will hurt the city's future

The Sun is correct in saying that the city's bottle tax increase is "no cause for great celebration" and that residents already "suffer disproportionately from poverty and high taxes" ("Beyond the bottle tax," June 13). Yet in the same breath you applaud the City Council's decision to pass the tax, saying it has the potential to transform our schools and city into a beacon of hope that will attract thousands of families.

To the contrary, the current beverage tax has failed the city, fallen woefully short, cost good jobs and hurt local grocery stores. Increasing the tax by 150 percent is a reckless move by the mayor and council, and the idea of floating new debt on a job-killing tax is fiscally irresponsible. To be sure, it will be a tough sell in Annapolis and with the bond rating agencies in New York.

What the mayor, City Council PresidentBernard C. "Jack" Youngand the Baltimore City Council have succeeded in doing is further saddling the nearly 26,000 people in Baltimore City who are unemployed and those living in poverty with another tax. And for what? Gambling to borrow money to fix a gigantic, systemic problem that will require an estimated $2.8 billion?

There were other options and paths to move forward; the mayor and council should have taken them. This will be their legacy, and I suspect many will be talking about this decision for years to come.

Ellen Valentino

The writer is executive vice president of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association.

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