New York State Senate Passes Bill Banning City Shopping-Bag Fee

BROOKLYN -

The New York State Senate passed a bill Tuesday prohibiting cities from imposing any fees or taxes on shopping bags.

Last month, the New York City Council passed a bill imposing a 5-cent fee on shopping bags. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he intends to sign that bill. However, a number of New York City-based state legislators, led by Simcha Felder in the Senate and Michael Cusick in the Assembly, then introduced a bill banning cities from imposing such fees. Felder, Cusick, and other co-sponsors say that the shopping-bag fee amounts to a tax, which the state constitution only allows to be passed by the state legislature.

“Under the law, a tax is when government uses its power to take your money and direct where it goes, and that’s exactly what has happened in this case,” Bob Farley, chief of staff to Sen. Felder, told Hamodia.

The anti-fee bill passed the Senate 36-22 on Tuesday and will now move on to the Assembly, where it has already passed the Cities Committee.

“I am humbled by the fact that a bipartisan majority of senators voted in favor of making New York City’s residents the priority above all,” Sen. Felder told Hamodia. Felder thanked his co-sponsors, “Sens. Marty Golden, Andrew Lanza and Roxanne Persaud; and, of course, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, for moving this forward.”

“I am confident that my colleagues in the Assembly will join Assemblyman Cusick in making sure this bill becomes a law.”