Baltimore City Customers May Soon Pay a Plastic Bag Fee

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A bill that would charge a fee of 5 cents for every plastic shopping bag has made its way out of committee in the Baltimore City Council.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the legislation — which was floated by Councilman James B. Kraft as a way to cut back on waste and litter — is likely to pass when it comes to a vote Monday, but the Republican Larry Hogan’s upset gubernatorial victory has given some city officials second thoughts.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake recently qualified her support for the bill, saying that she “will always have concerns about imposing more taxes and fees,” which is something she is “always cautious about.” Councilwomen Helen Holton and Rikki Spector cited the Hogan victory as evidence that voters are weary of taxes and fees.

It would seem even¬† supporters are not completely committed to the bill’s premise. For example, Council President Jack Young formerly had reservations about the bill, as he believed it would unfairly target poor families and might not reduce litter. According to the Sun, he changed his mind when he saw “customers willingly paying for plastic bags at some stores.”

Wait, what? He only supports the measure after anecdotal evidence suggests it won’t actually discourage someone from using a plastic bag?

Also, many supporters of the bill refuse to broaden the fee to apply to paper bags as well, which can be about as environmentally damaging as plastic and cost retailers more.

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