Friday, August 21, 2009

Seattle Bag Tax Defeated

Official flag of the city of Seattle, Washingt...Image via Wikipedia

The city council of Seattle, Washington had proposed a $.20 per bag tax on any bags that a retailer provided at checkout. Most jurisdictions that propose these bag taxes usually limited the tax to plastic bags. The Seattle legislation would have been the first in the country that did not distinguish between paper or plastic.

The measure was originally supposed to go into effect on January 1st of this year, but there were enough signatures to force the measure to a referendum. The legislation was voted down with 58% of voters voting against the measure. A resounding defeat for the bill.

My position on taxes like this is that they usually impact the lower income citizens the most. Consequently, I tend to be against these measures. I am all for a cleaner planet, which this measure was supposed to lead to. However, rather than punish people to get them to conform to the behavior you desire, I prefer to reward people to get to the desired behavior.

I honestly believe that most people would want to live "greener" so long as it did not have too much of an impact on their wallets, especially in troubling economic times. In most parts of the country, the results of this referendum would not surprise me. The fact that in a city like Seattle where the people and politics tend to be dominated by the more liberal wing of the Democrat party, seems to validate my belief, though I admit is does surprise me somewhat.

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  1. There is a such a thing in SF. Nice to see it was voted down.

  2. I think SF is only on plastic bags, this was on both. Congressman Jim Moron, er Moran, of Virginia proposed a national tax on bags. Not sure if got any traction in the House yet



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