Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Joe Morrissey wants to tax you for choosing plastic over paper

Desired partly by environmentalists, partly by people who like taxes, partly by the nanny-statists who think the government should intrude on everything in our lives, and partly by those who think that paper is so preferred over plastic that everyone should think like them, the plastic bag tax may be coming to Virginia.

Del. Joe Morissey (D - Highland Springs) (storied past ignored for purposes of this post) is proposing a $.20 tax on all plastic bags "provided to the consumer by retailers in grocery stores, convenience stores, or drug stores."  HB 124.  In addition to the tax, retailers are incentivized to impose the tax by allowing the retailer to keep a portion of the tax, and by suffering substantial penalties for failing to charge for plastic bags.

The odd result of this is that instead of charging for plastic, most stores in Virginia would likely convert to an all paper bag system.  No tax would need to be collected, and consumers would lose their choice among their shopping bag options.  Next they will regulate the shape and thickness of paper bags to ensure optimum recyclability and minimum landfill usage. 

I am sure the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia appreciate the government overreach in controlling our shopping habits.

Not to worry.  This is exactly the kind of bill that dies an early death in subcommittee. 

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