Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Bag Tax is a Good Tax

If the General Assembly passes House Bill 1086, Maryland would become the first state in the country to impose a statewide tax on plastic bags. This is one tax I can get behind. According this editorial in The Washington Post today bag taxes “are effective at cutting litter and popularizing the reuse of bags; and industry arguments against such measures are nonsense.”

“The evidence from the District and Montgomery is overwhelming. In the District, plastic bag use has dropped by at least half since the 5-cent tax went into effect in 2010. In Montgomery, the drop was significant — about a third — though not as sharp as in the District; however, the county collected more than $2 million from the tax last year, which will help it pay to remove litter that includes plastic bags.”

I've been a staunch proponent of reusable bags ever since I listened to Jean-Michael Cousteau at the Baltimore Speaker Series a little over three years ago. Since then I've amassed quite a collection.

Plastic bags are a public nuisance. A neighbor once quipped that we should make them the state flag since you can see them flutter in the wind almost everywhere.

“Industry lobbyists even argue that plastic bags don’t contribute much to litter, as if the visible evidence all around — bags in tree limbs, bags blowing down the street, bags clogging sewer drains — is invented. A study by the Maryland Department of the Environment last year confirmed their harmful effects.”

HoCo Delegates Guy Guzzone and Liz Bobo are signed on as sponsors of the bill making this one of those rare moments when I actually support Liz.
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