04.04.11 Bag Tax: Thank You, Valerie

This is cross-posted with the Washington Post’s All Opinions Are Local.

Those familiar with my coverage of the local political scene know that I have been a frequent critic of Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring), mostly because of her frequent refusal to take public stands on positions until she is sure where the majority is.

Well, this time, I want to thank Valerie, who has spoken out on the Kojo Nnamdi show and elsewhere in support of the proposed five-cent fee on disposal bags in MoCo.

Here is her response to my request to learn where she stood on the issue:

Keith,

Thank you for sharing your views on proposed Council Bill 8-11, Taxation — Excise Tax — Disposable Carryout Bags. I hesitate to use the word “tax” because the intent of this bill is to create an incentive to change behavior. As I have made very clear when the bill was introduced on March 15, as well as on radio interviews, I am a supporter of this bill. Most recently, I expressed my support when I was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi show last Friday, March 25.

To me, this is an issue of environmental stewardship. This legislation will create an incentive to use reusable bags, therefore decreasing our reliance on disposable bags, which often end up in our streams and tributaries. I know how important this issue is from my service on the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

I do want to ensure that there is a strong public information and outreach effort. This is important for residents who rely on public transportation and are struggling to make ends meet. Buying bags could be an economic hardship on some residents. My hope is that the County can partner with a corporate sponsor to conduct reusable bag giveaways. I have not seen any details on outreach efforts yet, so I will be monitoring this issue closely as it moves through the hearing process.

Thanks again for writing to me on this issue. Please feel free to attend the public hearing this Thursday night, March 31 at 7:30 p.m,. or submit your testimony to the Council in writing.

Valerie Ervin

Montgomery County Council President


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