Monday, January 24, 2005

Just Carry the Groceries in Your Pockets

My Way News picked up an AP story that reads like it should be in The Onion. The deadline: San Francisco May Charge For Grocery Bags. Link.

The city's Commission on the Environment is expected to ask the mayor and board of supervisors Tuesday to consider a 17-cent per bag charge on paper and plastic grocery bags. While the goal is reducing plastic bag pollution, paper was added so as not to discriminate.

"The whole point is to encourage the elimination of waste, not to make people pay more for groceries," said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste.

Environmentalists argue that plastic bags jam machinery, pollute waterways and often end up in trees. In addition to large supermarkets, other outfits that regularly use plastic bags, including smaller grocery stores, dry cleaners and takeout restaurants, could eventually be targeted.

The whole article belongs in The Onion, but the most ludicrous part if the anti-discrimination bit. I can just picture the Commission's lawyers warning them that it they only tax plastic bags, the paper bag manufacturers could file a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission demanding that they be taxed too.

However, the city probably has nothing to lose by adding a new tax. The voters there always support the candidate that wants the highest taxes and the most spending. If million-dollar, one-room shacks don't drive people out of San Francisco, I doubt that 17 cents per bag will do the trick.


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