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The controversial bottle tax backed by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to help close $121 million budget gap is in doubt after a key city councilman said he was leaning against voting for it on Thursday, Baltimore Sun colleague Julie Scharper reports.

Councilman Carl Stokes, seen as a swing vote on the proposal, said late Wednesday that he does not agree with Rawlings-Blake's plans for the proceeds of the tax on bottled beverages.

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Stokes said the revenue should save more jobs than the 70 that Rawlings-Blake says it will preserve; the mayor wants to use the money to restore street-cleaning and sanitation programs, among other initiatives.

"I don't have a reason to vote for the bottle tax," Stokes told Scharper. "If I had a reason, like more jobs and fewer furlough days, I'd vote for it."

A Stokes vote against the tax would likely lead to a 7-7 tie, resulting in its defeat.

The proposed tariff is one of several taxes and fees on which council members are scheduled to vote Thursday at an emergency meeting to help close the city's $121 million budget shortfall before the current fiscal year ends in less than two weeks.

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