It’s kind of funny how politics, and really human nature, work sometimes. Once one country, state, city or even person demonstrates success with a particular initiative it’s suddenly, hey, we can do that too! This can work either in or against your favor but in this particular case it seems to be very much in!

Now that DC has survived the implementation of our $0.05 disposable bag tax for a whopping 21 days, our friendly neighbors to the North and South (and all around really), Maryland and Virginia, have both stepped up to the plate!

MD Delegate Al Carr (D-18) plans to re-introduce a similar $0.05 bag tax in his home state this year. Carr first introduced the bill in 2009 but is more hopeful for its passing this year thanks to progress made in the District; “Now we can come back in Maryland and point to the success in D.C. and have the momentum.” A portion of the planned tax revenue would go directly to the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund.

VA Delegate Adam Ebbin (D-49) has a very similar initiative in mind for his state. He’s chosen to mirror his neighbors’ legislation due not only to the success exhibited thus far but also its compatibility with our consumer-driven market economy: ““This bill is different [from previous years] because there are incentives for businesses, for folks to collect money from the small fee…It’s not a ban, it’s a consumer choice.” Similar to the legislation in DC and MD, a portion of proceeds from the tax would benefit the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund.

These both seem like steps in the right direction, but I would love to eventually see a complete proposal for the environmental plans for each state. Disposable bags are an important issue but so are all disposable goods, water use, emissions, transportation, etc. Little steps are great but I think they would have an even greater impact and message if they were part of a larger mission. As someone who doesn’t touch politics with a 10 foot pole, I’m not sure if that’s realistic or just a pipe dream but hey, a girl’s gotta have dreams.

Read more about the proposed legislation as well as some early consumer and business responses at The Montgomery Gazette article by Jen Beasley (MD) and The Alexandria Times article by Austin Danforth (VA).

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