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Nonetheless, other lawmakers insist there are genuine concerns from many residents who have spoken against the tax without coaxing from the bag industry.

Delegate Melony G. Griffith, a Democrat and chairwoman of the Prince George’s County delegation, said county officials agree there is a litter problem but are unsure whether a tax on consumers is the right solution.

“Clearly, a problem has been identified,” she said. “Members are just struggling with whether a bag tax is the solution.”

Sen. Paul G. Pinsky, Prince George’s Democrat, contended that a bag tax could actually help shoppers save on groceries, as many supermarkets already offer a 5-cent refund for every reusable bag that a customer brings.

He also argued that the price of disposable bags is already built into grocery prices and that a bag tax has reaped major environmental benefits in the District and could do the same in Maryland.

The District implemented its 5-cent tax in January 2010 and estimated last summer that it generated $2.6 million for environmental causes and education. The city also said 75 percent of residents used fewer disposable bags because of the law.

Bag manufacturers “are the only ones who lose, because people are going to buy fewer bags,” Mr. Pinsky said. “We’ve got to be looking forward. We can’t just placate bag companies.”

The General Assembly is also considering a statewide bag tax proposed by Sen. Brian E. Frosh, Montgomery Democrat, that would apply only to jurisdictions that have not enacted a local tax.