Council Bags Tax
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” says Scott. “I tried to talk about using the place most like Baltimore, Washington D.C., as an example. We have new data, and it says that across economic lines, people not only support the fee…but they are using less bags and they see less trash in their neighborhoods.”
The studies found a 60-75 percent reduction in bag use when a nickel-per-bag tax was passed in DC. Baltimore’s tax was initially proposed at 25 cents per bag and was projected to raise $6.5 million for city government, “net of startup costs.”
The finance department recommended the tax be reduced to 5 cents at least to start, saying that would decrease bag usage while generating predictable revenue. The bill would have set the rate at 10 cents, with exceptions for fruit and meat bags.
But in the end, only Scott and councilmen James Kraft (1st District), Nick Mosby (7th District), Bill Cole (11th District), Bill Henry (4th District) and Mary Pat Clarke (14th District) voted for the bill. It needed two more votes.
“People always say they wish Baltimore was more like D.C., oh D.C. is so clean,” says Scott. “But when you try to put policies into place [that result in cleaner streets] they won’t do it.”