A use-tax by any other name

nickel and dimed to death by Goverment

NJ wants to institute plastic grocery bag surcharge

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A bill that takes an incentive-based approach to reducing the use of throw-away plastic and paper bags advanced in the New Jersey Legislature on Monday.

The measure approved by the Senate Environmental Committee requires retailers to give customers a 5-cent rebate for each reusable shopping bag they use and charge them 5 cents for each single-use bag they take. A similar law adopted Washington, D.C. nearly three years ago reduced the number ofplastic bags ending up in the nearby Anacostia River by 60 percent and caused three-quarters of residents to cut their use of disposable bags, according to a follow-up survey.

“By charging a nominal 5-cent fee for each paper and plastic bag, customers become incentivized to either forego a bag or bring a reusable bag rather than pay the 5-cent fee,” said Keith Anderson, interim director of the district’s Department of the Environment, who came to Trenton to testify about the bill.

Anderson said D.C.’s 2009 bag law requires 4,300 food and liquor stores to charge customers 5 cents per disposable plastic or paper bag, generating $2.1 million a year for river cleanup. Merchants keep up to 2 cents if they offer an environmentally friendly alternative. Random inspections are conducted by secret shoppers, he said, and violators can be reported via a tip line. Warnings are issued for first offenses but fines for continued noncompliance can reach $500. Most businesses are not troubled by the law, he said, because it’s enabled them to order fewer bags, thereby reducing their bottom lines.

Sen. Bob Smith of Piscataway, who chairs the environmental panel and is sponsoring the bill, said New Jersey could look forward to $28 million in revenue from the law, which could be dedicated to helping regenerate Barnegat Bay. The bay, which has deteriorated because of overdevelopment and storm water runoff, was battered further by Hurricane Sandy.

There ya go. They’ve got the spending of the money this fiat will generate already figured out. A nickel here, a nickel there, and pretty soon it adds up to tens of millions to spend on sandbags, dredging, and barrels of baby fish for one of the most congested recreational waterways in the country.

Guess we’ve run out kids to spend money on in New Jersey. This is now the second law I’ve run across in as many days that’s “for the fishies” instead. And until we all get sick from bag bacteria, or figure out how to bring back more bags than we use, the state will use the retailers as their agents to suck and extra dollar out of every one of us each week. You know, for the privilege of buying our food and booze here in NJ.

Damn shame about all those throw away bags too. Until the cost of doing business in NJ got too high, for 50 years they were made right here in Flemington, just down the road. Heck, I almost took a job there once, but said no when I found out everyone worked on rotating shifts. A month on morning shift, then a month on afternoon shift, followed by a month on overnight shift. Fug that. I worked nights for 4 years when I was a young man. Never again.

Posted by Drew458    United States   on 12/19/2012 at 08:22 PM   
  1. Until the cost of doing business in NJ got too high

    Not just NJ, we’ve outsourced manufacturing to China and procreation to Mexico.

    Posted by Steve_in_CA    United States   12/19/2012  at  09:12 PM  
  2. Here in Weird Town( Portland) they were going to try to add a “Fee” but the uproar was too much for our Poof Mayor so they just banned them (plastic bags) from major supermarket chain stores. All the little guy stores and any other Non Food outlets were also spared.
    Pretty fucking Dumb law huh.Fixes Nothing and costs the lives of more dead trees. This is Oregon, we got more Treeeeeees than we know what to do with . Win Win.

    Posted by Rich K    United States   12/20/2012  at  12:38 AM  
  3. Didnt they just abandon this in Toronto?

    Posted by Chris Edwards    Canada   12/20/2012  at  01:51 AM  
  4. Fear not they’re introducing similar bills in Virginia next session, yep VIRGINIA. Deliver me from these idiots. wtf

    Posted by Col. Bat Guano    United States   12/20/2012  at  02:15 AM  
  5. Same over here in UK and they way they act one would be forgiven for thinking that the UK all by itself was gonna solve the problem. Idiots!

    Last year , following the campaign by a self congratulatory Daily Mail, one town proudly announced itself as “Plastic Bag Free.” Some stores charging and some not. They are selling lifetime bags with co. name of course. When it wears out Tesco at least replaces it free of charge. Just another thing eco warriors can do, to feel good about themselves. Never occurs to anyone these bags are also used more than once for trash, as one example.
    So damn sick and tired of all these braying save the planet types.

    Posted by peiper    United Kingdom   12/20/2012  at  10:09 AM  
  6. Chris:  In July of 2012, they banned the mandate of the 5 cent a plastic bag fee that businesses within the city of Toronto had to charge customers.

    However, shortly thereafter, they also passed a resolution that would forbid the use of plastic bags from merchants as of Jan 1, 2013.  So, as of the new year, merchants are supposed to use… paper?  I don’t know how that’s going to end, but I know the merchants are currently suing the city…

    This all seems to have started when the Recycling Council of Ontario set up a “Plastic Bag Reduction Task Force” with a goal to reduce the number of plastic bags distributed in Ontario by 50%, by 2012.  {See footnote 1} (More of the Liberal Party, and Premier McGuinty’s meddling with people’s lives.)

    Annoying to me personally is that according to their own site, they hit their goal, and even surpassed it, with the percentage being 58% overall.  Of course, they could be outright lying, but I’m betting they’re not.  Their success will only embolden them to make it mandatory to ensure people don’t backslide.  Mark my words, by 2014, a 5 cent fee for plastic bags, or a stupid outright ban province wide will be in effect.  Toronto’s “Stupid” has a wide-area effect on the entire province.  (Don’t get me started, I’ll hiss, spit, and twirl for hours about that be-damned city.)

    At the retail level province-wide, the use of this fee is currently voluntary.  Some stores use it (with various justifications) while others don’t.

    The grocery chain “No-Frills” charges 5 cents a plastic bag, but makes empty cardboard boxes available for people to use and take home for no charge.  This cuts down on No-Frills’ cardboard recycling fees they’d have to pay for boxes their produce came in, and the bag fee helps to push people towards use of the boxes in place of bags.

    Another grocery store (Loblaws) charges 5 cents for bags as well, though it doesn’t provide boxes.

    Shoppers Drug Mart just started charging a fee, and have tried to justify it by saying they donate a portion of the money collected to “Women’s Health Issues.”

    At a recent purchase at Canada Computers, there was no such fee, which is smart.  Retailers of non-essential items can’t afford to piss off customers at the point of sale.  “Seriously, you’re going to charge me for a bag, even though I’m spending a ton of money in your store?  Y’know what?  Cancel the sale and put all this back on your shelves.  I’ll order online from Amazon or NewEgg.” (Not what they want to risk hearing.)

    I dislike the re-usable bags as you have to consciously remember to take them with you for a specific shopping trip.  They do you no good if they’re at home, you’re already outside the house and decide to stop at the grocery.  I don’t want to drive around with a “bag of bags” taking up space in the car just so I happen to have them with me in case I need to stop by the grocery.  If remembered, for a specific grocery shopping trip, they work well enough I suppose.

    For me, it’s merchant-provided-boxes (as with No-Frills), or I just chuck the stuff on the back seat/floor and deal with it when I get home, and where the canvas bags usually are anyway.

    The lack of plastic bags as a value-added service that these places used to provide for free as a cost of doing business annoys me _every_ time I run up against it though.

    Wal-Mart doesn’t charge for bags.  Pity their grocery section items currently have significantly higher price than No-Frills.  Also, my town’s Wal-Mart can’t offer near the selection our No-Frills can, but if it expands, that might change.


    Posted by Argentium G. Tiger    Canada   12/20/2012  at  02:04 PM  
  7. And all because these totally clueless insane liberals instituted the use of plastic bags back in the day - to save the damn forests.

    These people should be locked up and removed from political office - so that the sane adults of the world can get things back to some semblance of normal.

    Posted by wardmama4    United States   12/20/2012  at  07:48 PM  
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