Following Santoni’s announcement of his store’s imminent closing, Mayor Rawlings-Blake released a statement defending the tax.
“I’m deeply saddened to learn that Santoni’s Super Market will be closing. Linking its closure to the bottle tax may be a good sound bite, but it doesn’t square with the facts,” the mayor said in a statement released through her office. “By the supermarket’s own admission, business struggled in recent years, which isn’t surprising given the depths of the nation’s recession and its impacts on local governments and businesses. My administration supports small businesses, which is why we worked in partnership with Santoni’s to establish our nationally renowned Virtual Supermarket program that has provided healthy food choices to low-income residents and drove additional customers to the supermarket.
“It’s important that we not lose sight of the facts. The beverage tax was critical to helping Baltimore close a massive budget deficit without cuts to city services and provided a dedicated funding stream to help secure a historic investment of $1 billion in school construction funds. No one likes tax increases, but kicking the can down the road when it comes to our financial solvency and investing in our children is not an option.”
Santoni’s said he hopes to find a local buyer for the store.