D.C. Council Raising Taxes on Consumers

By June 4, 2009General, Taxation

Bottled water, plastic bags, fast food, sodas…oh, the possible targets for new taxes are endless.

The D.C. City Council is moving ahead with a nickel per unit tax on plastic and paper bags used in grocery stores, pharmacies and the like, with the stated goal of using the revenues to clean up the Anacostia River. The river is a polluted mess, it’s true.

The local NPR station, WAMU, broadcast a report Wednesday on the tax increase by Kavitha Cardoza. Excerpt:

Cardoza: Council Member Tommy Wells say they will conduct a study in a few years to evaluate the impact.

Wells: “And if we can show that there’s been a decrease in plastic bags that’s flowing into the river, then we’ll know that we’ve made a difference. We’ll also be able to tell the difference by the experience of the different stores – are they using less plastic bags.”

Cardoza: “So if you’ll do a study and find that Styrofoam is the biggest pollutant, is that next?”

Wells: “Absolutely.”

What an attitude. How about this question: “So if you do a study and find the river is still polluted and you really haven’t accomplished much except inconvenience people, you’ll repeal the tax and apologize?”

P.S. WAMU needs to have its reporters re-read the AP Style Book. Styrofoam is a trademarked name for polystyrene foam.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Toronto is in the midst of implementing a similar tax. An interesting comment I heard from a friend … they’d get better results if they paid people to bring in the bags. I know it works with our wine and beer bottles, but I’m not sure how well that would work with plastic bags. The bags are a nuisance and an environmental disaster, but I’m not sure this is the right solution.

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