Senator Felder Leads Bipartisan Push To Stop The Bag Tax

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New York State Senator Simcha Felder (D, Brooklyn), was joined at City Hall by Senators Marty Golden and Tony Avella, Assemblyman Michael Cusick, and other colleagues on both sides of the aisle today to call on Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to stop a regressive tax on plastic bags slated to begin next month. The legislators called the five-cent tax on each disposable plastic bag a bad deal for working- and middle-class New Yorkers, and another example of government “nickel and diming” taxpayers and their families.

“Many families have a hard time just getting by, paying for groceries, rent and heat, and now the Mayor wants to shake them down every time they shop just for the privilege of using a plastic bag,” said Senator Felder, who has fought the plastic bag tax since his days as a New York City Councilman. “Mayor de Blasio, please do not nickel and dime New Yorkers with another tax. This will hurt lower- and middle-income families who already struggle. I’m asking New Yorkers to stand up and tell the Mayor that this bag tax has to go.”

New York City enacted legislation last year to create the five-cent tax paid by consumers when they need a disposable plastic bags to carry out their purchases. The measure was originally slated to go into effect in October. However, a state Senate hearing held earlier last year on the issue by Senator Felder and other legislators, followed by approval of a bill in the Senate and a resulting public outcry led the City to delay implementation until February 15, 2017.

The City Council’s law provides no new income to the government for recycling programs or other beneficial environmental initiatives, but rather returns the fees paid for bags back to the store. The bill’s sponsor admitted its goal was “irritating” New York City residents into changing their behavior.

The legislators held the rally to call on the Mayor and City Council to stop the tax once and for all. In addition, Senator Felder has sponsored a state bill (S362) to ban any taxes and fees on carry-out merchandise bags in New York City.

“I am proud to join with my colleagues as a co-sponsor of this legislation that will prohibit the imposition of any tax, fee or local charge on carry out merchandise bags,” said Senator Marty Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn). “A tax on plastic bags will be financially damaging to every hard working New Yorker living in the City already struggling to pay their bills. Additionally this plastic bag tax will make operating a business more complex and burden small business owners even further. This proposal must be abandoned for once and for all, for the good of New York’s economy and that of our families.”

“When it comes to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, we are supposed to be reducing our city’s waste, not our resident’s bank accounts,” said Senator Tony Avella (D, Queens). “Fees to use plastic bags would cost our city’s families, while failing to increase the recycling of those bags. We need to increase awareness of plastic bag recycling programs already in place and encourage the return of all plastic bags, not just those used at grocery stores. We need to do a better job at encouraging recycling in all forms, not taking money from fellow New Yorkers.”

Significant issues about such taxes have been raised by a wide range of business and community leaders. Issues include the economic burden a bag tax could have on New York’s residents and businesses, especially low-income families; the potential for increased health risks due to cross-contamination of food when widespread use of reusable bags replaces disposable bags; and the environmental impact of replacing recyclable disposable bags with more permanent bag options.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Please make it a NATIONAL issue. Seriously. It is so stupid. I live on the west coast. People are walking out of stores with groceries in their hands. (And the whales who used to love eating all of our plastic bags are now starving). Every time you shop, you once again curse the dumb government for making our lives suck some more – for what?? 99% of bags were anyway reused or put in the garbage cans. The streets aren’t any cleaner because there are less bags. And whatever bags they do offer (for a fee/tax) are 200% thicker and they too just end up in the trash. This is the most stupid, liberal, idiotic thing. The worst part about it (at least where I live) is that this whole idea was never voted on! It was six city council members decided to shove it down it in our faces. The whole thing doesn’t make sense. The only logical explanation is that someone up there in the government has a brother/friend in the bag business. This is totally absurd. I wanted to print bags with the faces and names of the city council who voted for this idiotic law and write on them “This idiot made me buy this bag! Vote him out of office!”

  2. While Simcha is at it, how ’bout getting rid of the 5¢ “deposit” on bottles. The bottle law was enacted before we had mandatory recycling and might have made sense then. Nowadays it is just another burden on consumers who try to go through the hassle of getting their deposit back, most just give up on it. The stench and filth when you pass by the machines at the supermarket are disgusting and the vagabonds who rip my recycling bags and leave a mess in front of our homes affect our quality of life.

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