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Posted at 03:44 PM ET, 02/07/2012

Prince George’s paves way for 5-cent bag tax

Safeway customer Jeff Bulman declines cashier Sheila Jones’s offer of a free reusable bag in this January file photo. (Katherine Frey - The Washington Post)
The Prince George’s County Council endorsed a 5-cent tax on bags, opening the way for the General Assembly to approve a bill that would give the county the right to impose the tax.

The council voted 8-0 with one abstention on Tuesday to back the tax, which supporters say will help the county reduce trash and clean up roadways and neighborhoods.

The measure was pushed by County Council member Mary A. Lehman (D-Laurel).

Council member Karen Toles (D-Suitland) abstained, saying she wanted assurances the measure would not harm low-income residents.

The measure is expected to be taken up soon by the Prince George’s House and Senate delegations. If the bill is approved in Annapolis, it opens the way for the County Council to enact a local law imposing the tax. In the Washington area, Montgomery County and the District of Columbia have 5-cent bag taxes. District officials report that it has cut down on the use of disposable bags and also helped reduce trash. Montgomery’s law took effect last month.

By Miranda Spivack  |  03:44 PM ET, 02/07/2012

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