Prince George's County Bag-Tax Plan Stuck In Annapolis Committee

WASHINGTON -- A plan to institute a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper bags in one Maryland county is currently stuck in Annapolis waiting further action by state lawmakers.

Unlike most Maryland jurisdictions, Prince George's County law requires state approval on any new taxes. While county lawmakers OK'd a bag-tax measure earlier this month, there has been some hesitation by the county's state delegation in Annapolis.

According to The Washington Times:

The Prince George’s House delegation’s six-member County Affairs Committee will likely vote on the bill next week, after County Executive Rushern L. Baker III requested more time to discuss the proposal with lawmakers.

Mr. Baker, a Democrat, is among many county officials who favor the bill and are trying to urge support from the county’s General Assembly members.

The bill failed to make it out of the committee on Feb. 12 but the legislation can be brought up again for consideration.

One Prince George's County delegate, Veronica Turner (D), was not in attendance for that hearing and has expressed her reservations over the bag tax proposal.

As the Times reported earlier this week, lobbyists for the plastic bag industry have waged an intense fight over the plan in Annapolis:

Lobbyists argue that taxing plastic and paper bags could drive up families’ grocery bills and disproportionately hit low-income households. But many legislators who favor a bag tax say the lobbyists are overstating its financial impact and drumming up public outrage in order to help corporate interests.

The District of Columbia has had a similar bag fee for more than two years. Maryland's Montgomery County instituted a similar bag fee in January.

Photo by Flickr user how can I recycle this