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Re: [columbia_heights] Unintended consequences of the bag tax.

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  • Elaine Clisham
    P.S.: Still looking forward to hearing how you d internalize the negative externalities of these plastic bags. E. ... -- Elaine R. Clisham Field Director
    Message 1 of 49 , Jan 4, 2010
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      P.S.: Still looking forward to hearing how you'd internalize the negative externalities of these plastic bags. 

      E.


      On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 2:31 PM, Elaine Clisham <eclisham@...> wrote:
      Huh. You must use a different Google than I do. What I could find says that a) Ireland saw a 90% (94% according to one report) decrease in the use of plastic bags after instituting a 33-cent tax; b) in Britain Ikea saw a 95% decrease in the use of plastic bags after instituting a 5-cent charge (which it donated), and it has begun instituting a similar charge in the United States; and c) the only report I found on San Francisco's ban (not tax) was that according to audits (not sourced) it did little to reduce litter.

      Here's an interesting summary of the issues surrounding a bag tax, put together when New York was considering one: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/02/taxing-plastic-bags-from-pennies-here-to-millions-there/. Of particular interest: the difference between a tax and a fee.

      I see your link to stories saying plastic bag use increased after the tax; what I think we're talking about are two different kinds of plastic bags -- the kind stores give you at checkout, and the kind you buy for garbage. Apples and oranges, since the kind you buy for garbage don't typically wind up as litter. The objective is to reduce litter and pollution, particularly in the rivers, right?

      Also, information from ATR and the American Chemistry Council doesn't seem to have that sheen of objectivity; acknowledgement of bias should be factored into any reading.


      Elaine


      On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 2:08 PM, Will Collins <will@...> wrote:
      I think you can use Google to find what you are looking for but the two most common examples are San Francisco and Ireland.  Both of their bag taxes had the opposite effect.  Bag usage increased after the bag tax.

      --Will Collins


      On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 2:02 PM, Elaine Clisham <eclisham@...> wrote:
      Would you be good enough to source your assertion that bag taxes don't do what they're intended to do? I'd love to see some hard analysis on that. Many thanks.

      Elaine 


      On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 1:49 PM, Will Collins <will@...> wrote:
       

      You are all missing the point.  We were taxed without a vote.  This should have gone to people for a vote in the next election.  Instead a City Council with a less than ideal history, decided that they are experts on the environment and they would make the decision for us.


      Everyone makes it sound so easy to use reusable bags.  Just today 3 different retail establishments tried to charge me for plastic bags.  What am I supposed to carry around reusable bags 24 hours a day?  It's just not that realistic.

      Bag taxes increase revenue for the city and DO NOT CLEAN UP THE RIVERS AS THEY WOULD FALSELY HAVE YOU BELIEVE.

      As you can see with me, the bag tax has actually increased pollution.  All bag taxes do is cause people to find alternative (and most likely less environmental) ways to accomplish the details of life.  So BAG TAXES DO NOT WORK.  BAG TAXES DO NOT REDUCE POLLUTION.

      I will vote against any current city council members until they remove this bag tax.

      --Will Collins


      On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 1:41 PM, Pete Witte <witte.pete@...> wrote:
      Somehow I find it far-fetched that your case is usual.  Ridiculously far-fetched.  And even if there are a fair number of people acting as "economically-rational" as you are, let's see if you are still doing your shopping in Maryland and online in weeks and months from now.  And your calling attention to the supposed "free" trash raises a good point for our City Council to consider:  charge households by the amount of trash disposed of.  Will, get some reusable bags, help save our river, and stop crying us new rivers.
       
      Pete Witte

      On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 1:18 PM, Will Collins <will@...> wrote:
       

      I discovered something interesting this weekend while shopping at Target:  I now will spend less resulting in less taxes collected by the city for my purchases.  Why?  I refuse to pay the 5 cent per bag tax.  So I will only buy what I can carry in my own two hands.  I usually spend hundreds of dollars a weekend at Target.  Now I spend very little.


      Fewer purchases = less sales tax generated = more money left in my bank account.  And I am not alone.

      I also now find it cheaper to drive my hybrid to the Safeway in Maryland to purchase groceries.  I get 50+ MPG in my hybrid so an extra mile is nothing compared to 5 cents per bag.  So Maryland will now get my sales tax money.

      I also find myself ordering more things online now so that they can be delivered bag tax and sales tax free.  The only problem is now I need to throw away all those boxes and packaging material.  There is no tax on sticking it in my trash can.

      So there you go City Council.  Someone with a 6 figure salary has now made a lifestyle change because of the bag tax.  Taxation without representation now done locally.

      Here's to all the Amazon boxes now clogging the rivers.  

      --Will Collins




      --
      Peter Witte, M.C.P.
      1400 Irving Street, NW #212
      Washington, DC  20010
      witte.pete@...
      wordsofwitte.wordpress.com
      202-271-2445





      --
      Elaine R. Clisham
      Field Director
      Creative Loafing, Inc.
      732-742-6713 cell




      --
      Elaine R. Clisham
      Field Director
      Creative Loafing, Inc.
      732-742-6713 cell



      --
      Elaine R. Clisham
      Field Director
      Creative Loafing, Inc.
      732-742-6713 cell
    • Will Collins
      So this proves my unintended consequence point. By trying to charge me 5 cents for a back, D.C. will get nothing and it will all go to other communities. And
      Message 49 of 49 , Jan 5, 2010
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        So this proves my unintended consequence point. By trying to charge me 5 cents for a back, D.C. will get nothing and it will all go to other communities.

        And because it is not practical to drive to Maryland or Virginia for lunch I bought it locally.  Even though there were signs all over the place about the 5 cent tax for bags....No charge for bags.  See the law will not work.

        There's still time to take the bag tax back.  Repent City Councilmen and take back your evil law.  :)

        --Will Collins

        On Tue, Jan 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM, Elaine Clisham <eclisham@...> wrote:
        As promised (and then I really am done; promise!), here are the best figures I could find on how much money stays in a local community from various kinds of purchases (and I believe these are based on sales, not profits): Local - $47 of $100 stays in local community; walmart, $17; online, $0. From the book The Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell.

        Elaine


        On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 3:43 PM, Elaine Clisham <eclisham@...> wrote:
        DC may be losing sales tax revenue, but when you shop online it's losing something else, too -- 0% of the proceeds of what you spend stays in the community when you shop online. When you shop completely locally, i.e., not at a national chain, 100% of the proceeds gets invested in the community. I believe the figure for national stores is 40% but I'm checking on that. I imagine that's OK with you too; just wanted to be sure you took it into account in your cost-benefit analysis. Or was that just all about you?

        And, back to your earlier post, I'll leave aside the complete non-comparison between plastic bag use and drug addiction and mention that yes, I'd be OK with internalizing the costs of anything that's as big a litter problem as plastic bags are. If disposable coffee cups are on the list, fine. Wouldn't affect me if I take a reusable coffee mug into my local (not Starbucks) coffee shop, which I do.


        On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 3:27 PM, Will Collins <will@...> wrote:
         

        Actually I am paid on a salary.  So my time is worth the same regardless of whether or not I pay a 5 cent bag tax.


        You are all missing the point.  D.C. is losing sales taxes now because of this bag tax.

        Just because other people have not spoken up does not mean that I am alone in this belief.  In fact, I believe that other people probably would not stand up and state their belief because they are afraid of being attacked by those that oppose their view.

        Don't ever mistake silence as an acknowledgement that you are correct.  That's just arrogant.  

        The people of D.C. deserve the right to vote on this issue, not just have forced upon them.

        --Will Collins


        On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 3:18 PM, Henock Gebreamlak <hgebreamlak@...> wrote:
         

        If I am not mistaken, I think only one person in this discussion board (so far) is opposing the increase in the plastic bag price from 0 cents to 5 cents and the rest of the respondents are ok with it, so it sounds like it is hardly a controversial issue.

         

        Also it is hard to believe that someone who went to a store to buy a $500 jacket, stand in line to pay, then found out it would cost him an additional 5 cent would cancel the transaction.  Isn’t time worth anything anymore?

         
        ___________________________________________________



        From: Zach Teutsch <zteutsch@...>
        To: Will Collins <will@...>
        Cc: Peter Orvetti <peterjorvetti@...>; "columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com" <columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com>

        Sent: Mon, January 4, 2010 3:07:54 PM
        Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] Re: Unintended consequences of the bag tax.

         

        Let's all call it a day and agree to differ on this one.


        On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 3:06 PM, Will Collins <will@...> wrote:
         

        No not all tax policies should be put to a vote by the people.  However, tax policies that are controversial should be put to a vote.  That's why Seattle put their bag tax to a vote.  And guess what it?  It didn't pass.


        Bag taxes sound like a good idea.  But then so did Prohibition.    Maybe I should sell plastic bags on the street corners?  Don't tell the bag police.

        --Will Collins


        On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 2:53 PM, Peter Orvetti <peterjorvetti@ gmail.com> wrote:
         

        Mr. Collins:

        Do you think all tax policy changes and/or budgetary changes should be
        put to referendum? I'm just curious -- I have mixed feelings about
        this new policy myself.

        Sent from my iPhone





        --
        Zachary Teutsch
        zteutsch@gmail. com
        401-743-0915 (c)





        --
        Elaine R. Clisham
        Field Director
        Creative Loafing, Inc.
        732-742-6713 cell



        --
        Elaine R. Clisham
        Field Director
        Creative Loafing, Inc.
        732-742-6713 cell

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