Are plastic bags really Baltimore’s biggest problem?

Obviously Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the rest of Baltimore’s city leaders have solved all of the serious issues facing the city of Baltimore, because tonight the Baltimore City Council is going to be once again taking up the idea of a 10-cent tax on plastic bags in the city of Baltimore.

There are of course several very good reasons why this is a very bad idea:

There are of course several very good reasons why this is a very bad idea:
  1. Taxes or outright bans of plastic bags don’t save cities any money on litter collection. A 2013 study of such bans and taxes by the National Center for Policy Analysis “shows no evidence of a reduction in costs attributable to reduced use of plastic bags” when it comes to litter collection in city budgets. 
  2. When compared to other forms of litter, plastic bags constitute a very small portion of our litter problem, a point which has been made both by researchers and by anecdotal evidence here in Baltimore.
  3. A bag ban would have a direct negative impact on the business and job climate here in Maryland. Advance Polybag, one of the leading manufacturers of plastic bags, employs 140 Marylanders here at its plant in Elkridge. How is a plastic bag ban going to help the local economy if it means layoffs nearby?
  4. Where is the money going? Half of the revenue is slated to go the General Fund; how exactly is that going to help environmental stewardship of the city?

Sadly, this again shows that the folks who are running the city of Baltimore are in fact not serious people and would rather spend their time navel gazing and checking boxes on the agendas of liberal interest groups as opposed to tackling the major problems that the city faces…

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