The Matzav Shmoooze: 5 Cents Plastic Bag Tax Will Hurt My Parnassah


Dear Matzav Readers,

My name is Eli Amsel. I’m the owner of Lagmitz Paper & Plastic Company located on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. I am writing to you in regards to the new 5 cents tax that New York City has imposed on its residents and signed by Mayor Bill De Blasio. I have been an importer/distributor of plastic shopping bags for the past 34 years, and this law will have a very adverse effect on my business that I have toiled to grow for the last 34 years. It could potentially put me out of business.

I will definitely have to lay off some of my employees due to the downturn in business. This will also affect approximately 3,000 jobs in similar businesses like mine across New York City.

Every New Yorker, especially the less fortunate among us, won’t be able to afford this tax, like the elderly who live on a fixed income.

New Yorkers must begin to understand how unfair this tax is and the ramifications for small businesses like mine.

This coming Friday, May 20th, there will be a hearing regarding the state-sponsored Anti-Five Cents Law. It is of utmost importance to all New Yorkers, who must understand how devastating this law is going to be not only for me, but for millions of others living in the city who are already overtaxed.

Thank you.

Eli Amsel

Lagmitz Paper & Plastic Company

Brooklyn, NY



  1. Eli, the NY state is not, by far, the first country to tax disposable plastic bags at the consumer level. If you have political connections, by all means see what can be done, but don’t let this be the only path you pursue. In any case, consider that this business, like any other one, changes in time. There are many options, from the thickness of bags which can both cause them to be outside the scope of the law but also (perhaps more important) get them to be perceived by the final user as reusable and non-disposable, to the corn-based polymers which in the USA are subsidized even more than in Europe, to the 90-days biodegradable (with somehow irrealistic sunlight conditions….) Study the law, get good advice, and then your business within the new law will thrive even more. Hatzlacha.


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