Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Proposed Changes to Bag Tax

The bag tax has been in effect for over a year, and it has generated far more revenue than expected. While the effort to change behavior in grocery stores, drug stores and general stores shows some promising results, I continue to hear from residents that applying the tax to other types of stores, like those that sell clothing, is a bridge too far. In these cases, the tax is creating more resentment than incentive. I opposed the bag tax when it initially came before the Council, but now that it is in effect, I want to make sure it is reasonable for our residents.

That's why I, along with Councilmembers Craig Rice and Roger Berliner, introduced a bill to modify the carryout bag tax law. Bill 10-13 would limit the tax to bags distributed at food stores. It also would repeal the tax on plastic food take-out bags. The bill defines food stores as any retail store where food consists of more than two percent of gross sales by dollar value. The tax would continue to cover non-food items purchased at stores that meet the definition of a food store.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for June 18. Call 240-777-7803 to sign up to speak. You can also let us know your views by e-mailing county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov.


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