Angie Edwards is stocking up on household essentials. “I double bag them because I don't want to lose stuff.”
But that convenience could soon cost more. That’s if Bronx Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has his way. He's proposing the five-cent tax on plastic and paper bags at retail and grocery stores statewide. “I think it's crazy. We're taxed for everything. There's always an extra something on top,” Edwards said.
The legislation hasn't yet been introduced this session. But under previous bills, there have been a number of exemptions including seniors over 65 years old and purchases made with S.N.A.P. benefits. “You have pay five cents and you just have to throw it away? That does not make any sense to me. It's just ridiculous,” said Darlene Aderman.
According to the legislation, it's not about generating revenue from shoppers who use plastic bags. It's about encouraging shoppers to use reusable bags and help the environment. “I understand the environment piece but I think if you're recycling them at the end or using them for other purposes than it's kind of redundant to go ahead and tax on top of that,” Edwards said. “I can see the good and the bad, both sides,” said shopper, Nicole Sheppard. “For littering purposes, yes. For other reasons, no because some people can't afford the extra.”
For shoppers like Edwards, it's less about the price and more about the principle. “We pay enough for groceries. So, I can't imagine paying for the bags that I also need to bag that all up to go.”
The state legislature voted to delay a fee in New York City. It’s now under review by Governor Cuomo.