Bag Tax Issue is Back

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Sept. 10, 2004 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The City and County of San Francisco is considering levying a 25 cent tax on all paper and plastic bags on consumers as they utilize purchases from grocery stores within their jurisdiction. The tax would be kept by the retailer for up to one year and used to offset recycling costs. Unused funds after one year would be payable to the City/County for use in their recycling program.

Although a number of European companies have implemented such a tax on packaging, this would be the first in this country. CMTA sees this as another example of government trying to influence markets.

The SF Commission on the Environment, a citizen advisory group, which advises the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on environmental policy will meet at: 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett, Jr. Place, Room 400 in city Hall in San Francisco at 5pm on Thursday, September 23rd to discuss the issue. The sponsors of this measure have articulated a further agenda, seeing this as just a first step. Their ultimate goals include influencing product design to reduce recycling and changing product types to enhance compatibility with their food composting program. Similar taxes on other retailers and mediums are contemplated.

The legality of such a tax is being investigated. It would definitely have an impact on low income consumers. The ordinance is not out in print as of this date.

The Commission's website is: http://temp.sfgov.org/sfenvironment/aboutus/policy/commission.htm
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