Mayor Mike has called for charging shoppers 6 cents for every plastic bag needed at the register. If the proposal passes, New York City would follow the lead of many European countries and become one of the first places in the United States to assess a so-called plastic bag tax. Seattle voters will weigh in on a similar measure next year, and other places, like Los Angeles and Dallas, have studied the idea. City officials estimate that the fee could generate $16 million a year, a figure that Mr. Bloomberg would no doubt appreciate, given the lingering and concussive effects of the global economic crisis on the city’s economy. But while the fee would burnish Mr. Bloomberg’s environmental record, it might not be a lasting source of revenue. Just a few weeks after Ireland adopted a similar, though much heftier tax in 2002 — charging shoppers 33 cents a bag — plastic bag use dropped 94 percent, and within a year, nearly everyone in that country had purchased reusable cloth bags. Still, the mayor believes that the 6-cent fee would have a major impact on consumers’ behavior.
More importantly than income for the city, think of the environmental impact, or non-impact!
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See what NYTime's Big City commentary says about the proposal.