State representative proposes tax on plastic bags to help struggling programs

Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Friday, April 12, 2013 - 5:30pm

UPDATED: Friday, April 12, 2013 - 8:23pm

Paper or plastic? It’s an easy question that could soon become a more difficult decision. State Representative Regina Barrow has introduced a constitutional amendment that would tack on a five cent charge for every plastic bag you buy.

"Strictly up to the consumer, if they want to pay it, or I mean if they want to have recyclable bags. They don't have to, but if they bring their own bags they don't have to pay it," explained Barrow.

The tax's goal is two fold; encourage people to think green and raise millions for programs that have seen extreme cuts.

"The Council on Aging, Domestic Violence prevention, Autism, Epilepsy, the Heart Foundation, Prevent Child Abuse, just to name a few. It's about twelve agencies that can benefit from this," added Barrow.

Before it makes its debut into law though, the plastic bag tax will have to be voted on by the people of Louisiana.

"I would probably vote against it because it seems like just another gimmick to squeeze a few dollars out of the people. And I think they need to make better use of what they have," said Dr. James White, while loading grocery bags in to his car.

"I would definitely vote no. My first thought was another tax for people who really don't need to be taxed," shopper Wanda Wagner said.

Though most weren't thrilled about the tax, some people we spoke to said it's five cents for a good cause.

"Yeah, I mean if everybody got two bags at the grocery store it would probably add up to help those programs which need help in the long run, instead of finding some other way to tax people," said Zach Matus.

The amendment will be heard later this month in the House Ways and Means committee. If it passes through the legislature with a two-thirds vote it then goes on the ballot for a vote.

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