MoCo first – Maryland next?

This came to me from a source at the Washington Post who occasionally feeds bloggers interesting items:

The Montgomery County Council approved a 5-cent bag tax Tuesday that will go into effect January 1, a move environmentalists hope will revive a stalled effort to pass a similar tax statewide. The tax will apply to paper and plastic bags at thousands of merchants. Among the few exceptions are paper bags from restaurants and pharmacy bags holding prescription drugs.

Officials say the tax will raise about $1 million a year, some of which will fund free reusable bags for the poor and elderly. The money will also help fund cleanups of streams and rivers, although backers expect bag use — and tax receipts — to drop quickly.

Sadly, all but one member of the MoCo County Council voted for the additional tax. The lone dissenter, Nancy Floreen, stated “It’s just another regressive tax that (adds) to the cost borne by our most vulnerable populations.” She’s right about that, and I’ll bet I’m right in asserting there will be jobs lost because of the tax, which won’t just apply to plastic bags but to paper as well. If you figure 8 to 10 plastic bags per grocery trip, it’s another 40 to 50 cents extracted from the pocket of MoCo shoppers.

I’ve already discussed the state’s most recent effort to enact a bag tax, and of course those tax sponsors were thrilled to see Montgomery County take the lead on the issue. They figured it would make it more likely the state will pass a similar measure, either in this fall’s Special Session or next year in the regular meeting.

While the stated aim of the tax is to reduce the amount of bags available to clutter up the landscape, it wouldn’t be a MoCo measure without a wealth redistribution effort, as part of the proceeds will go to securing cloth bags for the poor and elderly. Do the elderly get carts to carry these heavier, larger bags too?

This will be a boon for one group, though – grocers and retailers in areas close by Montgomery County. That’s why the push will be on to make this tax statewide; we can’t have people escape taxation by moving around to more advantageous locations for shopping. It may not raise nearly as much as the recently-passed alcohol sales tax or the proposed gasoline tax, but again government wants to reach into our wallets and essentially make a loser out of a politically incorrect industry which serves a need.

Don’t forget: our local government may be thinking about a different revenue grab than the nickel per hundred property tax debated Tuesday night. Speed cameras are on their agenda next month so let me remind you what they’re really looking for. It’s all about our Benjamins, baby.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

4 thoughts on “MoCo first – Maryland next?”

  1. This is why I do my grocery shopping in Shrewsbury, PA. Don’t pay tax on nearly as much, and when the stupid hippie-liberals in this state finally vote for a statewide bag tax, it’s the flaccid, limp-dick grocers who will ultimately get screwed.

    What really burns me is that here in Baltimore County, we used to have “normal” recycling, where you separated out paper and then glass/plastic, and you could put these bags into the plastic (in fact, you could put your bottles and cans in the bags!). But now that we have gone the “single stream” route, they don’t take the bags anymore. You either put them in the trash, or you have to lug them back to the grocery store to “recycle” them there.

    So who are the real dumbasses in all this? Grocers for using plastic bags, or the mental midgets in the Baltimore County Solid Waste Bureau who weren’t smart enough to calculate out the impact of their own penile stupidity?

  2. If the goal is getting people to use reusable bags and reducing the number of bags cluttering up the landscape, a free market solution already exists. I do a high percentage of my shopping at Aldi, a grocery chain that charges for bags. Most customers bring reusable bags, and the money the store isn’t spending to supply free bags is reflected in Aldi’s generally lower prices. Giant also gives you an option to get 5 cents back per reusable bag– an incentive I usually take advantage of. If Marylanders think financial incentives for the use of reusable bags are a good idea, they can encourage other stores to adopt something similar. Don’t like this approach? You can shop at a store that doesn’t do this.

    By contrast, a bag tax will impose one more reporting headache on retailers who already have too many headaches. The free reusable bag idea strikes me as particularly silly, given that most of us have closets full of canvas bags we’ve acquired over the years from one source or another (it would seem I acquired one more Friday night, though I am looking at it with some misgiving this morning). I await your posting on THAT subject.

  3. Hey Mikey,

    Remember while you relish in your little power grab. Keep in mind when one of you little people want to run State wide you need to come through MOCO for Fundraising, don’t count on us to help people from your county, Queen Anne’s, Baltimore or Cecil Counties. You guys cut off debate too early like a bunch of the Red Neck, in-bread Hayseeds you all are.

    How much money have you guys raised? How about including fundraising in to consideration, oh wait Ehrlich did a bulk of his fundraising in MOCO.

    Baltimore County is led by the Chair of Republicans of Obama in Maryland. Hey Tony when do you kick off Republicans of Obama 2012? Queen Anne’s that man child Kevin Waterman and that Big Dope Andrew Langer.

    Finally some of you damn Red Necks shoved roughed up Central Committee Members from MOCO? You I hope the people you assaulted file charges against those who were the perps.


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