NYC: The tax is in the bag

Our esteemed Mayor Mike is proposing a tax on plastic bags from supermarkets and other stores. It’s at least his third attempt to implement this as a source of revenue for the city, and I’m not sure why it hasn’t passed in the past (I’m guessing it might be expensive to administer). The actual tax would be somewhere between a nickel and a dime, and might include an extra penny as a cut to the retailers for collecting on behalf of the city government. 

Suddenly I feel utterly vindicated for my manic scavenging of 10 free reusable shopping totes on Earth Day. 

I love taxes I don’t pay. Like those on cigarettes or city parking garages. I don’t even mind the proposed increase in subway fares because I work from home and take maybe 5 roundtrips a month, so it’s not a big hit on my wallet (however, I disagree with it on other grounds). I do object to the increase in sales tax to nearly 9% because we already pay a city tax on our income for the privilege of living in here – like it isn’t expensive enough?? I don’t know the rate table, but when I was grossing $40K in a regular W-2 job, it sucked away $40 per half-month paycheck.

I did think of one way the city could make money:  let people buy their way out of jury duty, and make it expensive. Heck, the employers could foot the bill. Charge something like 5% of the person’s gross salary and limit it to once ever – can’t make it too easy or else juries won’t have any of your peers! If we let people buy their way out of jail (which, sadly, I only know from news reports that assorted celebutantes weren’t offered this option in California, even though it’s quite common practice there), why not let them buy their way out of civic duty? Seems like a lot less admin than collecting nickels at the supermarket check-out and would probably result in the same amount of income for the city.

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3 Responses

  1. It was 15% sales tax in Ontario. Now in Quebec and Ontario, it’s 13%

    9% sounds good to me. 🙂 But I can see your irritation.

    I want everyone to pay SOMETHING for those plastic bags so that my grocery bill doesn’t creep higher just to compensate for all the bags other people are taking 😛

    It’s not that I want to make people who have dogs or use it for garbage at home pay.. it’s just that I want a discount, in that case, for not taking a bag. Either way is fine with me.

  2. Some supermarkets, like the one I go to when I visit my mother in NJ, discount 5 cents for each tote bag you bring and/or 2 cents for bringing back plastic bags for re-use.

  3. This tried to pass in Seattle. It was nixed. I truly thought it would pass. Frankly, despite being forgetful about resuable bags (as in, bringing them to the store) I was for it. I figured it would remind me to use the damn things.

    Anyway I guess the point is: If Seattle won’t pass the thing, I am not sure any city will. But it sounds like your mayor is more adamant than ours… I hope it goes through.

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