The New York State Senate today overwhelmingly passed a bill (S362) to prevent Mayor de Blasio from taxing New Yorkers for using plastic or paper shopping bags.
The Senate’s bill has been sent to the Assembly, where it is being sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Cusick (A1250) and must now be voted on.
Mayor de Blasio’s legislation is due to take effect on February 15 unless the NYS Assembly stops it. The Mayor mandates that a five-cent tax be paid by every customer when they shop and use a plastic or paper bag to carry home their items.
“Mayor de Blasio’s bag tax would place an undue financial burden on low- and middle-income New Yorkers who already struggle to pay their bills,” said Senator Felder. “It’s the last thing they need.”
Senators Felder and Persaud held a public hearing last May on the City’s bag tax where New Yorkers demonstrated that a bag tax would place an economic burden on City residents and businesses, and especially upon low-income families. They also addressed the potential for increased health risks due to cross-contamination of food when widespread use of reusable bags replaces disposable bags.
Senator Felder thanked Senator Flanagan for his leadership as well as his colleagues in the Senate for hearing the concerns of New Yorkers and standing up to protect them from another unnecessary, regressive tax. “We all care about the environment and want to make a difference,” said Felder. “How do we get there? By taking our State’s existing recycling law and enforcing it. We can even encourage good policy by giving New Yorkers incentives. But please stop punishing them. New Yorkers are sick of being over-fined, over-taxed and over-ticketed. They understand recycling. It’s the law, it’s the right thing to do, and everyone knows that except, apparently, Mayor de Blasio.”