Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An Absurd Bag Tax is Still a Threat in Maryland

For those of you who were wondering why we were let off the hook from crushing tax increases during this past legislative session (the alcohol tax hike not withstanding), beware the special session in September.  Not only is a gas tax hike on the table, a plastic bag tax is also in the works.

Last week, Montgomery County became the first jurisdiction in Maryland to impose a 5-cent tax on the use of plastic bags in stores.  Julie Bykowicz of the Baltimore Sun is reporting that Montgomery County state legislators are trying to propagate their puerile policies to across the rest of the state:

Bag taxes at the local level are spreading across the country, though the National Conference of State Legislatures noted in February that no state had instituted a statewide tax.

The Gazette reported that Del. Alfred C. Carr Jr., a Montgomery County Democrat who championed a bag tax this session, thinks Montgomery's bag tax "continues the momentum."

Carr's statewide plan would have required stores to charge 5 cents for each disposable bag. Stores would be able to keep one cent -- two if they offered a "customer bag credit program."

Most of the revenue raised would have gone to the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The fiscal note doesn't provide a solid estimate of how much money the tax would generate.

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