- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

While your article, “Democrats out to close tax gap” (Page B1, Tuesday), reflects the administration’s push to tax us more, there is a much smaller, yet equally egregious, tax on the horizon.

It’s true that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. These words couldn’t be truer in the current debate in Washington over the proposed 5-cent plastic and paper bag tax. The tax being proposed seeks to reduce the use of plastic and paper bags in your grocery, retailer, carry-out restaurant and even the hot-dog vendor at the corner of M Street.

A 20-cent tax was attempted in Seattle, but the taxpayers collected enough signatures to force the tax to a voter referendum, which will be held in August. San Francisco’s ban on plastic grocery bags required citizens to switch to using paper bags, which are a much greater strain on the environment. Plastic bags require less energy to manufacture, produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and create less waste than paper bags do.

D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells insists that the bill will provide hundreds of thousands of reusable bags to people in need across the city. The very people whom Mr. Wells considers in need (the elderly, low-income earners and others) will suffer more because of this regressive tax. It’s completely counterintuitive to tax the people at the checkout line for whom you are “providing,” only then to say the reason for your bill is to help the very people who just paid the tax. The bill is devoid of logic.

The Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Act of 2009 certainly feels like the right thing to do, but at what cost? This isn’t the time for a new tax, and anyone who reads the paper knows it.

JONATHAN MARTIN

Ward 1 resident

Washington

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