When Montgomery County lawmakers approved a 5 cent tax on plastic shopping bags, their goal was to change residents' behavior and encourage the use of reusable bags. According to data that has been collected, that hasn't happened.
A year after the fee went into effect, it's generating twice the revenue officials expected. County data shows the bag tax is on pace to exceed $2 million in revenue. The county had estimated it would generate $1 million.
The tax was meant to discourage use of plastic, disposable bags, which account for a sizable amount of litter found in streams and ponds.
The District of Columbia created the region's first bag fee in 2010. The city claimed an 80 percent drop in bag usage the first year, though now officials admit they do now know how many bags were used before the tax went into effect.
At least one Montgomery County councilman is considering making changes to the county's tax. Roger Berliner has said many times he thinks it may be time to drop the tax on plastic bags issued at department stores.