A plastic-bag tax? NY lawmakers push back, Miami Beach is considering this.
A battle over a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper bags in New York City could end with all cities being blocked from imposing similar taxes.
Angered by the New York City tax approved in May, the state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would prevent the 5-cent fee from taking effect.
The bill, however, goes further than New York City: It would block any city — from Buffalo to Rochester to Binghamton to White Plains — from implementing a tax on grocery bags.
Now, state Assembly leaders are weighing whether to put the bill to a vote, though the tax’s recent delay could push the issue to next year. And environmental lobbyists are working the halls of the Capitol, hoping to run out the clock on the Legislature’s annual session, which is scheduled to end June 16.
“This isn’t about nickels, it’s about getting rid of the damn bags,” said William Cooke, director of government relations for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “For the Legislature to tell cities they don’t have the right is ridiculous.”
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Simcha Felder, D-Brooklyn, would block all cities from imposing “any tax, fee or any other local charge on any carry out merchandise bag.”
The Senate passed the measure 36-22 after an 85-minute debate and vote, with supporters saying New York City’s tax was ill-conceived.
“It’s about time to respect New Yorkers,” Felder said. “It’s about time to respect our constituents who doesn’t want to be driven crazy and nickel and dimed everyday.”
Others said the issue should be left to local governments to decide. The city tax is aimed at reducing waste and the amount of plastic bags found in city streets.
Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye, said it would set a bad precedent for the state Legislature to overturn the city’s decision.
“This is a…. Read More: Plastic-bag tax