A proposed 5-cent surcharge on plastic shopping bags looked like a sure thing as it made its way through the Baltimore City Council, despite strong Hogan-upset-inspired reservations about imposing new fees on a weary citizenry. Who knew that it would be chucked at the last minute — like a single-use bag — in favor of an outright ban?
Councilman James B. Kraft, who first introduced the legislation, felt that imposing a fee would be too would unduly burden residents. But it may all come out in the wash and then some as retailers adjust prices to account for the exclusive use of doubly expensive paper bags.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has promised to veto it, citing the lack of public input on the radically altered bill and the added cost to retailers. Councilwoman Rikki Spector opposed the bill and said she wished her fellow council members “would spend three months as a business owner in Baltimore City.”
The Maryland Retailers Association, which had previously abstained from the fight over the plastic-bag fee, piped up to register its disapproval with the ban, given the narrow profit margins it claims grocery stores operate on.
Even Blue Water Baltimore pointed out that paper bag manufacturing “is more resource-intensive.”
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