Bag tax generates millions for county -- Gazette.Net


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Now in its second year — one marked by a brief flurry of controversy this fall about whether its scope should be scaled back — Montgomery County’s bag tax has generated millions in revenue for the county.

The tax, which applies a 5-cent fee for each plastic bag used by virtually all retailers in the county, should generate close to $2 million in 2013, according to numbers provided by the county.

The tax generated $1,755,208 from January through October, the last month for which figures are available. It has generated $4,261,724 since taking effect in January 2012.

In November, Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda proposed a bill that would limit the tax to only stores that make at least 2 percent of their gross sales from food.

The proposal drew objections from the staff of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who expressed Leggett’s desire to give the tax at least two years to evaluate its effectiveness in limiting the number of bags found in the county’s rivers and streams.

Berliner agreed to table the legislation after talking to Leggett; Berliner said Leggett told him that he was open to changing the scope of the tax if the data support it.