I encourage the members of the Baltimore City Council to pass the bag tax measure ("Bag tax economics," Jan. 23). When this measure was proposed several years ago, we heard the same argument that it penalized the economically disadvantaged. This argument reminds me of the complaints when the city went from collecting trash twice a week to collecting recycling one day per week and trash on only one day. There were dire forecasts that people would have too much trash to be able to wait all week before putting it out. It completely ignored that the change in the city's policy would require a corresponding change in the behavior of the city's population. If you recycle more (which is what the change was trying to encourage) then you will accumulate less trash. Similarly, if you switch to reusable bags you don't have to pay the 10 cents!
There are too many of us on this planet to think that we can continue to be a throw-away society without there being grave consequences. We are all, the poor and the wealthy, responsible for making this world a better place. We have to ask ourselves whether we are truly a progressive city or do we just pay lip-service to that notion and blame all of our failures to move forward on the economically disadvantaged members of our population?
I have a set of reusable bags that I bought from Trader Joe's for $1 each eight years ago. I still use those bags. If City Council members are concerned about penalizing the economically disadvantaged, perhaps part of the income generated from the tax could be used to purchase one set of reusable bags for people at a certain income level. They should also remember that the very people that they are trying to protect are the ones who are disproportionately affected by litter on city streets. Those bags aren't blowing down the streets in Cedarcroft, but they do dot the landscape of Greenmount Avenue, North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Brigitte Jacobson, Baltimore
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