The New York state Senate late Tuesday passed legislation for the second time to bar New York City from implementing a fee on plastic or paper shopping bags.
Starting Feb. 15 retail stores in New York City will impose a fee of five cents on all single-use shopping bags. Retailers will keep the revenue from the fee.
Critics call it a tax which will place an unfair burden on low-income residents. Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat, says residents shouldn’t be nickeled and dimed by the city.
“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,” Felder said. “It’s the last thing they need.”
Defenders of the bag fee say it’s a common-sense way of reducing litter, and note that anyone using food stamps won’t have to pay the fee.
Tuesday’s 42-18 vote in the Senate moves the legislation to the Assembly, where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Cusick. The Senate passed a similar version of the bill last year, but differences with the Assembly led to that chamber’s postponing a vote to this year. Since it’s a new session the Senate had to vote again on the legislation.