NYC Expected to Approve 5-Cent Tax on Plastic Bags

NEW YORK -

With the mayor and City Council on board, lawmakers are expected to approve a 5-cent tax on every reusable plastic or paper bag New Yorkers get from groceries and supermarkets.

The vote, which will take place on Thursday, has long been a dream of progressives, who say it will lead to a cleaner city. But the impact on families has led to a delay in voting, as Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said she must study it first.

The bill is sponsored by Council members Brad Lander of Brooklyn and Margeret Chin of Manhattan. Mark-Viverito announced her support for the measure last Thursday and Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that he liked it for several reasons.

“One, that we must stop using plastic bags for the good of our environment, and two — this is one of the tools proven to work around the country,” the mayor said, according to CBS News.

The bill, whose goal is to get people to switch to reusable bags, would exempt purchases made with food stamps, take-out and medications from pharmacies.

State Sen. Simcha Felder has said he would introduce legislation banning the city from taxing the bags. He said that the levy is unconstitutional since only the state may impose taxes.