Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun
April 12, 2010
The Baltimore City Council members received the mayor's proposal to raise taxes and fees and faced difficult choices on which cuts and fees to adopt.
Increased income and telephone taxes, a new bottle tax, per-bed fees for dorms and hospitals were among the options that could generate an extra $50 million in revenue that the fees. In what promised to be a contentious budget season, council members were deeply divided on Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake's proposed revenue package, designed to help close a record $121 million gap in the city's $2.2 billion budget.
A doomsday budget that she presented in March would slash the police force, close fire companies, shutter rec centers and lay off hundreds of city workers.
But a $50 million grab bag of taxes and fees could reverse most of those cuts without hiking already high property tax rates, city officials said.
"The cuts go too far because the city needs new sources of revenue," Rawlings-Blake said. "The city's current revenue model is unsustainable."