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Senate Candidate to Council: Repeal the Bag Tax

The county's bag tax is unnecessarily punitive.

Montgomery County residents continue to face tax increases, with no end in sight.  In January 2012, the county instituted a 5-cent bag tax. On the face of it, the goal of the tax is laudable—funding cleanup of streams and rivers and to encourage the use of reusable bags

We don’t need, however, the government dictating and controlling another aspect of our lives. In fact, the private sector in particular grocery stores, were already encouraging patrons to use recycled bags.  Stores, such as Whole Foods, have, for some time have been using or awarding incentives to encourage customers to reuse/recycle bags. Customers receive a 5-cent credit for each bag they bring to the store.  

Moreover, Whole Foods takes this program a step further by “adopting” different local nonprofit organizations, such as, the Make A Wish Foundation, giving consumers the choice of whether or not to donate their credit.   

Moreover, bringing one’s bag has become the “in thing” to do as a result of increased awareness and education, which was occurring long before the County Council stepped in.

I believe the private-sector driven approach is a win-win for everyone – except for Montgomery County bureaucrats, who will spend the bulk of the money raised creating yet another government  program, at a cost approximately $564,000, with $234,000 going towards administrative costs, and about $300,000 towards public education, outreach efforts and $28,000 towards the Water Quality Protection Fund. If revenues from this program fall, it is likely that the bag tax will increase—taxes never go away, they just go up.

Continued education and outreach by the private sector should be encouraged by the county; however, not in the name of a whole new program that county taxpayers can ill-afford, and at a time when they are preparing to face a new onslaught of taxes.

I am concerned about the environment, but this measure is simply not the way forward. This bag tax is punitive in nature, and it is a regressive tax on those who least can afford it. The county should be encouraging the private sector to continue to do the right thing, not punishing it.

It is time to bag the bag tax in Montgomery County.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bob Hydorn July 30, 2012 at 02:06 PM
KS, Yes I have personally seen the difference. Maybe one should walk the lake paths etc. You will see the change for yourself.
Theresa Defino July 30, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Everything you ever wanted to know and more: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/bag
Bree G. Butler August 02, 2012 at 02:19 PM
It is regressive and it is punitive. I have trouble affording food. I don't have a car, so I have to carry everything with me. And I am not alone. This tax is also harming the environment. I used store bags to recycle and collect garbage. Now it is the county's problem. I hope that 5¢ is enough to remove all those cans, plastics, papers, cadmium batteries, and mercury fluorescent tubes that are going into the environment. Not to mention all that dog poop left lying around... Can't wait for a chance to vote those Limousine Liberals out of office. Why don't they raise the taxes that they have to pay?
WhataJoke August 16, 2012 at 05:07 PM
If blowhard hydorn said it count on BS
Robert Muth August 29, 2013 at 08:15 PM
I work at a grocery store in Montgomery County. This past June I lifted a reusable bag stuffed to the brim with juices, as the customer said to (This is very common). My back popped and went out. I am on prescription pain killers and see a specialist 40 minutes away (one way) every two weeks. I am in a lot of pain and continue with 45 minutes of physical therapy every day. I am still receiving workers compensation, and will likely have back pain the rest of my life. I am 25. Thank you Montgomery County!!!!!!

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