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Posted at 4:45 PM ET, 01/14/2010

Free bags -- but at a price

By editors

By Mitch Wander

In his Jan. 10 letter, “What the bag law has accomplished,” Bryan Dierlam noted that by shopping in Virginia he saved 55 cents on plastic bags, while paying $2.36 in sales tax. He commented that, “I’m not sure that shifting sales tax revenue from the District to Virginia is what the law’s proponents had in mind, but that will be the law’s effect in our household.”

His desire to obtain “free” bags, given his priorities, is understandable. But his decision to shop in Virginia will impact his family budget more than it will District sales tax revenue. He is choosing to pay taxes on his groceries by crossing the Potomac to shop. The District does not charge any sales tax on groceries. Virginia charges 2.5 percent.

By editors  | January 14, 2010; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Montgomery County  
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He can come to MD where there's no grocery sales tax or bag fee. I haven't shopped in DC since the bag tax took effect and if I'm hungry on the way home, I wait until I cross into MD to pick up something.

Posted by: loved1 | January 15, 2010 5:43 AM | Report abuse

Instead of taxing grocery bags and kids McDonalds meals bags they should require deposits on bottles. This would keep bottles out of the Anacostia river and off of the bike trails and sidewalks. You can't walk or ride a bike on the sidewalk for all the glass bottles broken on it. Cars from Maryland and Virginia toss all kinds of bottles and trash out onto the DC sidewalks. How about a fine for littering and enforcing litter laws DC????????????

Posted by: peace4all2 | January 15, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I have been looking and have not found a single store in DC, especially Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeters, CVS, etc., that participate in the 5 cent rebate for bringing your own bag. It will be a big lie if the city reports how successful the program is and the hundreds of thousands of dollars collected for the cause.

Posted by: tazz2 | January 15, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

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