The New York State Senate today passed a bill to stop the implementation of New York City’s bag tax. The moratorium (S4158), an agreement between the Senate and Assembly and sponsored by Senate Cities Committee Chairman Simcha Felder (D, Brooklyn), is the latest step in the Senate’s bipartisan efforts to stop the City’s regressive tax on carry-out merchandise bags and enable consumers to keep more of their hard-earned money.
“Today, we took concrete action to stop Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council’s punitive Bag Tax,” said Senator Felder. “I want to thank my colleagues who worked so hard to protect our constituents from this tax, especially Assemblyman Michael Cusick who led the fight in the Assembly. We believe that New Yorkers are the greatest people in the world — hard-working people who want to do the right thing given that opportunity. We will continue to be diligent and not allow New Yorkers to be over-fined, over-ticketed, and over-taxed.”
This is the second time state legislative pressure and a public outcry helped successfully defeat the bag tax’s implementation. When New York City first enacted legislation last year to create the five-cent tax, it was originally slated to go into effect in October. However, a state Senate hearing held by Senator Felder and other legislators, followed by approval of a bill in the Senate prohibiting such taxes, and a resulting public outcry led the City to delay implementation until February 15, 2017.
With the passage of today’s moratorium, the City’s law implementing the bag tax is defeated, removing an unnecessary burden on low- and middle-income New York City residents. The bag tax could only be reauthorized by a new City Council with members who begin their terms on or after Jan. 1, 2018.
Senator Marty Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) stated, “The New York State Senate acted quickly to put a stop to a tax on plastic bags that would be financially damaging to every hard-working New Yorker living in the City. During these financially challenging times, we need to find ways for New Yorkers to keep every penny to meet the growing cost of living here in the city. I hope that the New York City Council will find other ways to help the environment without imposing burdensome taxes.”
Senator Tony Avella (D, Queens) said, “This bag tax was hastily developed without thought of the impact on low- and middle-class families who are already strapped for cash in New York City. I believe that we must find alternatives to the growing impact of plastic bags on our environment, however this plan was not the way. This moratorium will give the necessary amount of time to develop an economically sound, environmentally friendly way to reduce the use of plastic bags.”
Senator Diane Savino (D, Staten Island/Brooklyn) said, “Since the passage of the bag tax by the City Council I have heard from my constituents that they are opposed to it. Many are senior citizens who just can’t afford anymore nickel and diming by the city. Last year the City Council delayed implementation to find solutions to the problems we discussed on the Senate floor, but they didn’t do anything. With the passage of today’s bill we can ensure that the City Council fully understands the impact on our communities.”
The bill will be sent to the Assembly, which is expected to act on the measure this week.