Sen. Bob Smith, chairman of the Senate Environmental Committee, is again targeting plastic bags in bill that would make consumers pay a 5-cent tax for every bag they use. The legislation is reportedly modeled after an ordinance in Washington, D.C.
The Senate Committee is scheduled to review it Monday even though the final draft of the bill (S812) was still being worked on Friday. Last session Smith sponsored a bill that would put a 15-cent tax on plastic bags. Thankfully, that bill went nowhere. Business groups, including CIANJ, the Retail Merchants Association and the Food Council, plan to speak out against the bill because of the economic hardship it represents and the complications it would cause at check out.
Many stores, especially supermarkets, have very successful recycling programs for plastic bags, begging the question why the senator wants to create a new tax in these difficult economic times.