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Friday, April 26, 2013
Bag Tax Goes National
By News Release @ 9:28 PM :: 4592 Views :: Environment, Taxes

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

From National Taxpayers Union April 25, 2013

The Bill: H.R. 1686, the Trash Reduction Act of 2013

Annualized Cost: $4.08 billion (first-year cost)

On April 23, one day after Earth Day, Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) re-introduced H.R. 1686, the Trash Reduction Act of 2013. The bill would impose a five-cent tax on every paper or plastic disposable bag that retailers issue to consumers. Businesses would be solely responsible to collect the fee. Some bags would be exempt from the tax, including reusable bags and those used for garbage or pet waste disposal.

Tax dollars would go to a new Land and Water Conservation Fund. Eighty percent of the taxes collected would be directed into the Fund and used to finance various conservation programs and construction of outdoor recreation areas. A new nonrefundable tax credit payment to retailers who participate in bag recycling programs would make up the remaining twenty percent of revenues.

Representative Moran said that he modeled the legislation after existing "bag tax" programs in Washington, D.C., which neighbors his own District. On the bill's introduction, he said "[t]his small disposable bag charge helps people understand that paper and plastic bags are not without cost. They impact the environment, support foreign dictators, and make Everest's of trash. Our bill begins to shift America away from its current disposable culture back to a simpler time when Americans understood the value of reusing what they bought."

According to Moran's office, Americans used over 102 billion plastic bags in 2009. Based on that data, NTUF estimates that the 5 cent tax could generate up to $4.08 billion in its first Fiscal Year to be spent on Land and Water Conservation Fund programs (tax revenues  and non-refundable credits are not counted under Bill Tally rules). It is unclear whether there would be significant administrative costs associated with the legislation. It is also unclear to what degree consumers would seek to avoid the new tax.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.

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