Howard County Councilmember Opel Jones has submitted an amendment to CB64-2019 (the Howard County Plastic Bag Fee / Tax) legislation that would double the revenue that stores would receive for providing plastic bags at checkout.
The original bill called for stores in Howard County to receive 1 cent for every 2 bags they provide us at checkout…but the new amendment (amendment 1) calls for stores to receive 1 cent for every bag they provide you and me at checkout.
Councilmember Jones has not provided a public statement (on social media or via press release that I have seen) as to why he has changed his stance and agreed to double the profits for stores providing plastic bags to shoppers. I say this because his name is one of two on the original bill (along with Councilmember Rigby) that called for less revenue to the stores providing plastic bags.
I have been against this bill for a long time now (more than a year) but amendment 3 submitted by Councilmember Jung would change my mind on this legislation. Amendment 3 would put a end date to the punitive tax on shoppers (July 2021) and switch this punitive tax to a ban on plastic bags (which is the right thing to do if this legislation is really about the environment).
Now if Councilmember Jones votes yes on amendment 3…I will have a hard time knocking him on amendment 1 (I still wont love it…but will back off that issue). That is my hope when this comes up for a vote on December 2nd. Now if Councilmember Jones votes no on amendment 3 while supporting doubling the revenue for stores that give out plastic bags like candy to shoppers…well I will have a lot to say about what he (and any others that vote no on amendment 3) think about plastic bags and the environment (in my opinion).
I am a fan of Councilmember Jones and my hope is that he votes the right way on Monday when it comes to amendment 3 and does not make this overall legislation more about the MONEY than the ENVIRONMENT.
I have been on the kick of is this about generating revenue for government and local businesses or is this really about protecting the environment. I think we will really find out on Monday evening when our locally elected officials vote.
Stay tuned…this is still my number 1 issue to follow next week.