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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Leggett proposes 5-cent bag tax for Montgomery County

By Michael Laris
Montgomery County

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett proposed a 5-cent bag tax Monday that would apply to nearly all retail establishments, not just stores that sell food, as is the case in the District.

The proposal would cover "any supermarket, convenience store, shop, service station, restaurant or any other sales outlet where a customer purchases goods," according to legislation language released Monday. The proposed law would take effect in January and would need to be passed by the county council.

Officials say tens of thousands of stores would be covered. They estimate $1.5 million in revenue the first year, the bulk of which would go toward water protection. Store owners would sign on to a new Web site that would be set up to collect the tax, officials said.

Leggett, backed by representatives of environmental groups, said littered bags are a pervasive nuisance and that carrying reusable bags is a practical solution that has had good results in the District. Opponents say the tax hits poor people hardest and amounts to
government interference in the marketplace.

The law would cover paper and plastic bags provided to carry purchases. Exceptions would include a bag from a pharmacy for prescription drugs; newspaper, garbage or pet-waste bags; bags at farmers markets; and a paper bag for carrying prepared food from a restaurant, according to the legislation.

By Michael Laris  | March 7, 2011; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Michael Laris, Montgomery County  
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Sounds fine to me. The county's got a severe budget shortfall, and a bag tax would be one of the least painful ways to alleviate it. I always carry a bag when I go shopping--it's not that hard once you build up a stash of them in your trunk and by your front door. Finally, I'm sick of seeing plastic bags stuck up in trees. If the tax leads to fewer of the things being handed out, that's fine with me too.

Posted by: csdiego | March 7, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the state of Maryland, giving yet another reason not to live in that dump.

Posted by: Nixonin08 | March 7, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Another money grab - nothing more. MoCo is becoming quite the expert at it.

Posted by: masonman1 | March 7, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Just ban plastic bags.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 7, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of the illegal aliens and there won't be bags lying all over the ground. MoCo is a sewer.

Posted by: johnfchick1 | March 7, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Does this mean I will need to pay an extra nickel every time that I eat at Five Guys? All they do is give you bags.

Posted by: pyoung66 | March 7, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Filthy leftists always have their hand in your pocket..

Posted by: wewinyoulose1 | March 7, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

If they pass this tax, then it will cost the low life's in Montgomery County an additional five-cents to toss used disposable baby diapers on the roadside as they drive to Wal-Mart!

Posted by: localgoober | March 7, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

If they pass this tax, then it will cost the lower class in Montgomery County an additional five-cents to toss used disposable baby diapers on the roadside as they drive to Wal-Mart!

Posted by: localgoober | March 7, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Why are newspaper bags exempted? The narrow, long bags are useless, whereas grocery bags save me from buying purpose-made, thick, environmentally disastrous, will-still-be-here-when-the-planet-erodes-away, trash bags. Bad idea all around, just a money grab.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | March 7, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Alcohol tax, higher gas tax, bag tax, speed cameras. Why would anybody legal choose to live in MoCo?

Posted by: pyoung66 | March 7, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

newspapers exempt? They should have a surcharge. All those useless Gazette and Washington Examiner papers would stop delivering to me maybe if they had a $1 tax on newspaper bags not related to a subscription.

Posted by: ewong228 | March 7, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Leggett: giving me more reasons everyday to only shop from Amazon - where there is no sales tax given to the state or the county

Posted by: honeylamb | March 7, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I am so disgusted. I've seen this county go from a prosperous, high- to mid-income dwelling place to an illegal dwelling, senselessly expensive dump. I did not vote for legget as all he cares about is making sure citizens of the US who belong in the old MoCo, MD engage in an all-out 'flight'. No, I will not pay anymore of my hard-earned $ into this dump; Amazon?! Pea Pod?! Here I come. Oh-moving out of this illegal, low rent dwelling, tax-crazy dump come next summer to the great New England region. At least I won't have to cringe everytime I venture out of my immediate comfort zone! Thanks legget. You win. I'm done.

Posted by: Demi_MoCo | March 7, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't The Post let us comment on the longer article published today about the issue? We also couldn't say anything about O'Malley's stupid gas tax. Stop suppressing debate when it is counter to your opinion, Washington Post!

Posted by: pyoung66 | March 8, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

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