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12mem530 f Baltimore

12mem530 f Baltimore

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Published by rajusme

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Published by: rajusme on Jun 04, 2012
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06/04/2012

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1023 31
st
Street, NW
Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20007ph 202-625-0370
fx 202-625-0371
www.mellmangroup.com
TO: American Beverage AssociationFROM: The Mellman Group, Inc.RE: Attitudes In Baltimore Related To Financing School ConstructionDATE: May 30, 2012
The Mellman Group conducted a survey of 600 likely 2012 voters in the City of Baltimore for the American Beverage Association. The poll was conducted by telephone May 17-21, 2012, and used a registration-based sample. The margin of error  for this survey is +/-4%. The margin of error is larger for subgroups.
 
Our recently completed survey shows majorities reporting that recent stories about problemswith city operations give
them “
very
serious” concerns about the city’s ability to manage its
finances. Still, there is majority support for some of the proposals being considered to fundschool construction, including using taxes from slots and casinos, increasing the tax onbillboards, and using proceeds from speeding tickets and red light cameras. However, strongmajorities of over sixty percent are
opposed 
to increasing the beverage container tax orincreasing taxes on soda and other drinks
 – 
the two proposals that garner the broadest andstrongest opposition.
Reports Of Financial Mismanagement In The City Raise Very Serious Concerns
Of late, there have been a number of reports in local news media describing mismanagement of Baltimore city finances. The best known of these are overcharging for water bills and thetroubled negotiations for the upcoming Baltimore Grand Prix IndyCar race. Nearly half (49%) of 
voters say they have heard “a great deal” about the “problems with water bills” and 33% say they
have heard a great deal about the handling of the race. Nearly four in five (79%) have heard
either “a greatdeal” or “some”
about problemswith water billsand more than sixin ten (64%) haveheard about thepotential loss of the IndyCar race,while over a thirdare aware of therenovation of theschool districtheadquarters(35%) and luxurycondo ownerspaying lower taxrates than otherhomeowners(36%).
 [After each:] 
 Does this raise very serious concerns,somewhat serious concerns, not too serious concerns,or no concerns at all about mismanagement by Baltimore City officials?
 VerySeriousConcernsSomewhat+ VerySerious
As you may know, Baltimore’s public works de
partment hasoverbilled nearly one in 10 customers on their water bill,leading to over $4 million in refunds to 38,000 customers.
79% 94%
As you may know, Baltimore lost out on more than $10million in property tax revenue over the last several yearsbecause some 200 luxury condos were assessed well belowtheir value.
62% 86%
As you may know, there has been criticism of city officials’
handling of the Baltimore Grand Prix IndyCar race, withallegations of city money not being reimbursed, promisedrevenues not materializing, and mishandling of negotiationsfor the upcoming race, which could lead to the cancellation of the event and lost revenues and business for the city.
55% 85%
As you may know, the city recently spent $500,000 to
upgrade offices at the school district’s headquarters.
 
52% 83%
 
The Mellman Group, Inc. (May 2012)
2All four of the reports generate serious concerns for a majority of voters. A massive 94% of voters say that overcharging nearly 40,000 Baltimoreans on their water bills raises seriousconcerns about mismanagement by Baltimore City officials, with 79% saying it raises
very
 serious concerns. Eighty-six percent (86%) report that the under-taxation of luxury condo ownersraises serious concerns about mismanagement, 62% of them
very
seriously, and the results aresimilar for the mishandling of negotiations for the IndyCar race (85% serious concerns) and thesix-figure office renovation (83%).
Increasing The Beverage Tax Is The Most Unpopular Of Every Revenue Option Tested
When voters are given a list of ways to fund school construction one thing becomes clear
 – 
 increasing the tax on bottled beverages is not popular. (Note that the following proposals weretested
before
the reports of financial mismanagement to ensure that information
would have noimpact on respondents
’ 
views on the proposals.
)
 
All
respondents were told that “As you may
know, it is estimated that Baltimore City schools need $2.5 billion dollars over 10 years for school construction and renovation to repair and rebuild schools in the City
”.
Then they wereread a list of proposals and asked of each whether 
they “
favor or oppose that particular
 proposal”,
along with whether they felt that way strongly or not so strongly.We tested two versions of a bottle tax increase. One version listed the kinds of bottled beveragesthat would be affected, while another described it simply as an increase in the beverage containertax enacted last year. Neither is popular. One-third of Baltimore voters (33%) favor and 64%
 
-64%33%-62%31%-52%41%-46%46%-35%57%-23%66%-22%70%-20%74%-18%74%-18%74%-13%80%-12%82%-13%83%-11%82%
The Container Tax Garners The Most Opposition
FAVOROPPOSE
Net
work with local developers in a public-private partnershipto build new school buildingsuse the tax revenues from slots and casinos
undertake a forensic audit of the city’s finances and school
board spendingsell or lease unused
gov’t property
increase the tax on billboardsmandate that funding from speed cameras be used forBaltimore schools and educationmandate that funding from red light cameras be used forBaltimore schools and educationinstitute a tax check-off that allows individuals,foundations and businesses to pay morevoluntarilystop the special tax breaks given to real estate developersincrease the energy tax on commercial and industrial usersimpose a fee on the non-profit hospitals that do not have topay property taxeshave the city issue new bondsincrease the beverage container tax enacted last yearincrease the tax on regular/diet soft drinks, energy drinks,iced tea, bottled water, beer, and alcohol passed last year
+71+70+70+67+56+56+54+48+43+220-11
-31-31

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