Lordy…this thing will just not go away…and I have a bad feeling that legislators will pass this in Annapolis and send it into committee this session…and give their opponents in 2022 something to run on…because this is that bad…
The Howard County Bag Tax (labeled as “Howard County – Authority to Impose Fees for Use of Disposable Bags, Ho. Co. 4–19” will be discussed for the second time on January 30th in Annapolis.
I am watching closely who votes yes and no on this bill…who believes that you and I should pay 5 cents per bag every time we shop at any store in Howard County. If passed…that is what they believe…do not believe the spin that will follow this bill…things like it is about local control….because you do not vote yes unless you believe that this is the right thing for this county.
This bill does not stop or punish stores for providing the product (a bag at checkout)…this is a punitive tax on us for not bringing a bag with us to a store…not a measure to stop the stores (Walmart, Target, any store at the mall, McDonalds or any store we shop in) to stop providing us with those products…because what elected official would take them on while in office?
People will tell you that this tax works…but of course if you look at the actual data from Montgomery County or Washington DC…they can not point out a data point that shows the number of bags distributed at checkout going down year over year. Spoiler alert…the number of bags only goes up year in and year out. They will point to more people living in those jurisdictions, better compliance with the law and more stores opening (because that will not happen in Howard County in the future…yep…total sarcasm)…but they can not point to less bags used at point of sale…isn’t that what this law is all about? According to one legislator in Annapolis…it is about “changing the habits of shoppers”…but can they point to how that has happened locally in other jurisdictions…no they can not!!!
I am not silly enough to say that it does not help…some people will change their habits for some types of shopping…but what this actually does is become a part of living in that jurisdiction…and generally people are not happy about it…but at the end of the day will live with it…because it is not so bad a tax you will drive outside of the county to shop…and for the local jurisdiction…it generates a bunch of new revenue. To me…that is what this is all about…although no one will actually admit to it.
I do not understand the folks that are on the side of the environment….because a ban would be much more effective…but the ones engaging me on Facebook and Twitter do not talk about that…they seem to want this punitive tax on us locally a lot more than actually reducing the number of bags given out at checkout. They do not attack Walmart, Target, Giant Foods, Wegmans and other stores for providing plastic bags…they blame you and I for not shopping with reusable bags every time we leave our house…I really do not get it.
I would 100% support a ban on plastic bags…that is a measure to stop the stores providing that product when you and I shop…I 100% do not support a tax on us for shopping and being provided a product at checkout. This is a punitive tax on us that has proven not to work in reducing the number of plastic bags given out…and only generate income for the local government.
This is a topic I am watching closely this year…because I can bet if passed…this is a campaign item in 2022…for those in Annapolis…and those locally if it makes it that far…and I will help make it an issue if needed…because I love Howard County…and have no interest in it becoming Montgomery County.