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

Remembering Robert Swanson, Advertising's 'King Of Jingles'

Robert Swanson revolutionized American advertising and wrote some of the most memorable ad jingles of the 1950s and '60s for products ranging from Campbell's Soup to Pall Mall cigarettes. He died at 95 July 17 at his home in Phoenix, Ariz.
NPR

More Than Just Saying 'Cheese,' Hundreds Sit Test To Become Official Experts

The American Cheese Society will begin proctoring its next Certified Cheese Professional Exam in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, during the group's annual conference.
WAMU 88.5

Democratic National Convention Day Two: Uniting The Party

An update on day two of the Democratic convention: Bill Clinton takes the stage and ongoing efforts by party leaders to build unity.

WAMU 88.5

How To Help Teens And Children Fight 'Tech Addiction'

Many parents and therapists say obsessive internet use is a very real problem for some teens and children. But the term “internet addiction” is controversial and not officially recognized as a disorder. How to help kids who compulsively use computers and mobile technology.

Leave a Comment

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