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New Montgomery County Bag Fee Starts Jan. 1

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An assortment of plastic bags
Flickr user johnmcga: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmcga/
An assortment of plastic bags

A new 5-cent fee on paper and plastic bags goes in to effect in Maryland's Montgomery County Jan. 1.

Outside the Giant supermarket in Bethesda, a shopper named Steve says he's bracing for the new fee.

"It makes it harder on people who have to save their pennies and feed a family. It's another hidden tax," Steve said.

But Bob Hoyt, director of Montgomery County's department of environmental protection, says the fee will actually save taxpayers money by reducing the number of bags that end up in parks and waterways.

"We spend over $3 million a year in this county on litter prevention and cleanups, and that's a lot of money. People are paying for it anyway, and this is a way to reduce those costs a little bit," Hoyt said.

According to Hoyt, any revenue raised from the fee will go to water restoration efforts.

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