Montgomery County Passes Bag Tax | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Montgomery County Passes Bag Tax

Play associated audio
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.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristinroach/
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.

The cost per bag is five cents, and it applies to both paper and plastic models. Bags given to customers for prescription drugs, or at restaurants to carry home leftovers, are excluded.

The tax mirrors one that went into effect in D.C. in January 2010. The District government collected roughly $2 million from the tax in 2010, although that number fell short of the $3.5 million projection.

Montgomery County officials told the Gazette newspaper that the majority of the money raised through the bag tax will be used to provide reusable bags to shoppers free of charge.

Montgomery County Council member George Leventhal says while this is a tax, people can avoid it by bringing reusable bags.

"Any tax is avoidable in some way. Gasoline tax is avoidable if you don't buy gas. Income tax is avoidable if you don't earn income," he says. "And the bag tax is avoidable if you don't take the bag."

Council member Nancy Floreen cast the lone dissenting vote to the tax. She says the tax won't work to reduce use of plastic bags, adding that it makes little sense to pass a new environmental tax while cutting related county services.

"At the same time that the county executive proposed this tax, he proposed a budget that in effect guts the parks department," she says. "Streams are in parks, and it is the parks department that maintains those streams."

Part of the justification for the tax is to help keep plastic bags from polluting the county's rivers and streams.

Floreen adds the county should just ban plastic bags altogether if lawmakers are that worried about their environmental impact.

NPR

John Ridley Explores Family, Race And Justice In TV's 'American Crime'

The writer-director's new show, premiering Thursday on ABC, opens with the home invasion murder of a war veteran. We learn about the crime through characters diverse viewpoints.
NPR

U.S. Government Teams Up With Private Sector To Stave Off Cocoa Crisis

Chocolate is increasingly popular and under assault from diseases that infect cocoa plants. Scientists are working to find varieties that will resist diseases and keep the world's sweet tooth happy.
NPR

Hillary Clinton Asks State Dept. To Release Her Emails To The Public

The State Department says it will review thousands of messages for possible release. Clinton announced her intentions Wednesday, after a House panel issued a subpoena for some of the emails.
NPR

Clinton's Private Email Server Has Advantages, Vulnerabilities

While many of those messages are tucked away from the prying eyes of the public, it's not clear they are well-protected from hackers.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.