DC Council Approves 'Bag Tax'

This film scene just became $0.05 more expensive to reproduce

Today the DC Council approved the $0.05 tax on plastic bags. File this under the "great ideas in theory, but wait a minute..."

I'm not going to address things such as how this is a regressive tax that hurts lower income people. Any flat-rate tax is regressive, and will hurt lower income people. This is true, whether an economist says it, or someone with the American Chemical Society (absolutely no conflict of interest there) says it.

How about enforcement of this? None of the news articles I've seen talk about how this tax will work. WTOP's report is of a tax on bags "leaving" stores. Is the store charged for every bag it purchases and then it must pass that tax along to customers? How will it work? Couldn't one store eat the $0.05 tax in an attempt to get more customers and not pass the tax along?

What about self-checkouts?

What about plastic bags for fruit or meat?

Why not just ban the bags all together?

Why not just not bother.


  1. AnonymousJune 16, 2009

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Based upon the comment above, it is obvious that mat is truly incensed by Dave.

  3. The Post says the tax is on paper and plastic bags. I'm all for reducing pollution and I despise those plastic bags, they're not even sturdy enough for groceries sometimes, but this...

  4. They'll just pay the stupid tax and build the cost into the prices of everything they sell, just like any other cost of doing business. Any sane business owner would be stupid to try to count every single plastic bag they use at the checkout and charge the customer for it, instead of just paying the tax on every one they buy each month.

    A lot of grocery stores give a discount for using your own bags as it is. So, this will amount to absolutely no benefit to the environment, and another cost of doing business in DC. Just what we need.

    Fucking morons. I can't wait to vote against Fenty.

  5. No, I didn't make that comment. That was an imposter, you moron.

  6. yada yada yada:
    The LAW will NOT charge businesses for PURCHASING plastic bags. BUSINESSES WILL charge CONSUMERS for being issued the darn things, BUSINESSES will PROFIT from SELLING you plastic bags that they GAVE FOR FREE before the law passed.

    IT is a TERRIBLE law no matter how you look at it.

  7. The DC tax on plastic bags is 5 cents. Out of that tax, one cent is kept by businesses and the remaining four cents goes to the DC Office of Tax Revenue. This tax is NOT to generate profit for the DC government or for private businesses. The one cent that businesses make off of each bag that a consumer uses is only to "warm up" private businesses to the idea because some of them feel that the tax will hurt their business.
    Also, that tax has worked in other circumstances. Ireland imposed a 15 cent tax on plastic bags beginning in 2002, and plastic bag consumption dropped by 90%. Hong Kong imposed a similar tax of 6 cents this past summer and plastic bag consumption dropped by 85% in the first 2 days of the tax.
    All in all, the tax is 5 extra cents per plastic bag. The money that is made from this tax will go towards a program to clean up the Anacostia River. If you don't want to pay the tax, buy reusable cloth bags and you'll get a 5 cent credit on every bag that you bring in. And if you can't afford the reusable bags, lots of non profit organizations are distributing the bags for free to senior citizens and low income residents.
    Basically, the tax will not hurt. We need to get moving on the problem of pollution, and I think that this tax is an excellent way to raise awareness on the issue while actually producing concrete results.

  8. I don't mind paying if necessary, but the extra penny should go to the correct the AWFUL!!!! school system in the District. How can you line the pockets of the already rich business owners without making EACH location that's benefiting from the increase contribute at least half in scholarship to their area schools. This is totally unfair. Pay me for each time I don't use a plastic bag!