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D.C. Council Member Pleased Bag Tax Revenues Fall Short

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Montgomery County is planning to provide reusable bags like these to shoppers once a new 5-cent tax on disposable bags is implemented next year. The County Council passed the tax May 3.
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Montgomery County is planning to provide reusable bags like these to shoppers once a new 5-cent tax on disposable bags is implemented next year. The County Council passed the tax May 3.

D.C. collected approximately $2 million in 5 cent fees from the so-called bag tax last year. That's less than what the District had expected to bring in. But city leaders aren't complaining.

The bag tax's architect, council member Tommy Wells, says he was thrilled to hear the city has appeared to fall far short of the estimated $3.5 million it had planned to raise through the fee.

That means, he says, more people are forgoing plastic bags and bringing their own re-usable ones.

"This has been far more successful than we anticipated," Wells says. "It shows that the nickel is the right price point and that the bill really works."

The principle goal of the bag tax is to reduce the number of plastic bags that wind up in the Anacostia River. All the money raised is supposed to help with cleanup efforts.

According to the Associated Press, residents went through approximately 270 million single-use bags a year before the tax. Now that total has dropped to 55 million.

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