Mr. “Bag-Tax” Comes to Terms with His Remaining Tenure

Isiah Leggett (D-MD)

Isiah Leggett

(Rockville, MD — October 12, 2016) – Montgomery County Executive Ike “Bag-Tax” Leggett announced yesterday that he will not run for a fourth term in 2018.

Apparently, there is a God.

The first African-American to serve in the position, Leggett began his controversial tenure in 2006. He was re-elected in 2010 and 2014.

Leggett pushed through a 5¢ bag tax on all plastic bags provided by businesses. Taking effect on January 1, 2012, the tax has raked in millions of dollars for Montgomery County’s coffers. However, it still has its detractors.

“I have no problem with encouraging people to use reusable bags for lots of things,” said a disgruntled Montgomery County resident, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But not for things like take-out food. If you use a cloth bag to hold Chinese food, how are you going to get that smell out? You may as well throw the bag away – and those bags aren’t cheap.

“And what about when you to go buy a new suit at Macy’s? They give you that plastic bag to keep the suit clean until you get home. That’s another 5¢.

“I just think there should have been exceptions, but Mr. “Bag-Tax” didn’t think so. First he took away our free plastic bags. Next he’ll come for our guns. I hate his guts!”

Traffic on I-270

Traffic on I-270

Another point of contention regarding Leggett’s tenure: His efforts to increase the number of Montgomery County residents – by a large margin.

“Montgomery County currently has about 1,000,000 people,” said a statistician, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Leggett wants to add 250,000 additional residents by 2040. I realize that will mean even more revenue from his 5¢ bag tax thing, but where are these people going to go? Isn’t there enough traffic right now?”

Indeed, I-270 is ranked as one of the worst roads in the nation.

The irony of Leggett’s decision to not run for office again is that an upcoming ballot measure may render his decision moot.

“He likely wouldn’t have been able to run in 2018, anyway,” said a political strategist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s really up to Maryland voters in Montgomery County, but my feeling is that he was out in two years, no matter his personal decision.”

On November 8, Montgomery County voters will have their say on “Question B” which, if passed, would limit the terms of the county executive, as well as the nine members of the Montgomery County Council, to three consecutive terms. All indications are that the initiative will pass:

Question B: Term Limits – County Council and County Executive
Amend Sections 105 and 202 of the County Charter to:
– limit the County Executive and members of the County Council to 3 consecutive terms in office;
– provide that a County Executive and any member of the County Council who will have served 3 or more consecutive terms on December 3, 2018, cannot serve another successive term in the same office; and
– provide that service of a term includes complete service of a full term and partial service of a full term.
Montgomery County Council

Montgomery County Council

Should it pass, four Council members – Roger Berliner (D-MD), Marc Elrich (D-MD), Council President Nancy Floreen (D-MD), and George L. Leventhal (D-MD) – will find themselves unemployed after the 2018 election.

The other five Council members – Tom Hucker (D), Sidney Katz (D), Nancy Navarro (D), Craig Rice (D), and Hans Riemer (D) – have joined the “Lame Duck Four” in opposing Question B.

Leggett also opposes Question B.

“The Montgomery County Council brought this upon themselves,” said a political scientist, speaking on condition of anonymity. Marylanders had just rid themselves of [Governor Martin] O’Malley (D-MD), a governor who raised every conceivable tax over his eight-year term. And then, on May 26, the Council decided to raise property taxes by 9%. That’s an average of $326 per year per household. Add to that the annual pay raises the Council’s getting and you can see why Montgomery County voters want these people out of office ASAP.”

It should be noted that Leggett put forth the budget containing the 9% property tax increase.

Additionally, in 2013 the Council voted itself a 17.5% pay raise to take effect following the 2014 election, further alienating themselves from the people they’re supposed to serve, not gouge:

Month/Year Salary
December 2014 $113,310
December 2015 $120,675
December 2016 $128,519
December 2017 $136,258