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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 12, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Bag tax: Would measure save money or punish elderly?

Green Bag Campaign will save money in the long run

The Green Bag Campaign allows Seattleites to responsibly choose to reduce plastic waste in the Puget Sound and do our part in promoting an economy that does not rely heavily upon petroleum-produced bags with a 15-minute shelf life.

The fee collected allots for education of the general public and for millions of reusable bags to be purchased and dispersed for free or minimal cost. The slight inconvenience of purchasing plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores in the Seattle area is insignificant when compared with the millions of dollars that taxpayers spend each year cleaning up trash — plenty of which is plastic bags — in the Puget Sound area.

I urge fellow Seattleites to consider how beneficial the bag fee would be for this city and to vote for positive change this November.

— Rachel Erstad, Seattle

Taxing bags aims to punish

Taxation to punish is wrong. Mayor Greg Nickels and the City Council have tried to punish those of us who disagree with environmental zealots by imposing a 20-cent tax on each bag of groceries or prescription drugs we purchase. As President Obama taught Congress when the national legislators wanted to pass a special tax punishing bankers for receiving exorbitant bonuses, taxation is not a proper vehicle to punish the opposition.

On Aug. 18, the primary ballot will include the bag tax. Please vote against it because it will increase the cost of groceries and prescription drugs.

Besides the cost issue, there is a fairness issue and a social concern. Is it fair that I would not pay this tax if I bought hair spray at a beauty salon but would pay this tax when they placed my hair spray purchase in a plastic sack at a grocery store?

Besides being unfair and a tax imposed to punish, my biggest concern is for seniors, of which I am one, and middle-to-low-income residents. We have the least ability to pay this tax. Imagine the squabbles with the bag boys and girls at the checkout stand when the clerk rings up the cost of each bag. And while the baggers can now divide the heavy stuff and make each bag manageable, if we are forced to load all into one or a few cloth bags, they will become too heavy for seniors to carry.

This is a horrible example of how environmental zealots drive the government of this city.

— Kenneth F. Bertrand, Seattle

Comments | More in Seattle, Seattle City Council, Taxes

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