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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 20, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Bag tax: Why did it fail?

Vote against Ref. 1 a vote against liberal agenda

Editor, The Times:

It’s the same strategy. Just like the right-wing attack on President Obama isn’t really about health care, the vote against a tax on plastic bags was really a vote against the liberal agenda, specifically environmentalism in Seattle.

It’s what the Republicans will call a backlash against that liberal agenda.

But really it’s cutting off your nose to spite your face. It’s just more dangerous Republican misinformation on how to reduce our waste and pass on the goal of a better place to our kids. The only goal Seattle Republicans have is winning the next election, at any cost.

Republicans seem to believe global warming and other environmental dangers don’t exist anyway. There’s no real reason to be environmentally conscious in the minds of the Republicans.

— Doug Morrison, Seattle

Bag tax failed because it wasn’t evenly applied

I take offense at Brady Montz’s assertion [“City voters don’t buy shopping bag charge,” News, Aug. 19] that Referendum 1 failed because big business spent more than the Green Bag Campaign 5-to-1.

My friends and I voted against the 20-cent bag tax because it was arbitrary and discriminatory. Some businesses, but not all, had to pay the 20-cent bag tax. Grocery stores, food banks and convenience stores had to pay. Large mega-stores like Target, Sears, Fred Meyer and Macy’s were exempt.

The tax would save us from all those non-biodegradable plastic bags but would also tax all those biodegradable paper bags. If the green-bag supporters want a law that will pass then they should outlaw all plastic bags, leaving only paper and reusable bags as alternatives.

Do not write a law, like the one that failed, penalizing only certain businesses and service organizations assisting the poor.

— Suzanne M. Banchero, Seattle

Despite failed tax, quit plastic bags cold turkey

Many voters felt the plastic bag fee was too nanny-ish. Understandable, but still, the environmental problem remains.

Here’s an idea. Judging from the massive sums they spent to defeat this measure, the plastic producers clearly expected plastic-bag sales to take a huge dive if the fee was approved.

Let’s all see if we can make that happen anyway by resolutely swearing off plastic bags at the grocery. Cold turkey.

Let’s develop a culture in which those who regularly use plastic grocery bags are assumed to be either self-absorbed people like those who talk too loudly on their cellphones or people for whom reusable bags are genuinely beyond their means.

We can roll our eyes at the former and empathize with the latter. But for ourselves, let’s do what’s right, even without the official prompt. The inconvenience will be minimal.

After all, if you’ve got a life, plastic bags can’t be a very big part of it.

— William R. Andersen, Seattle

Comments | More in Election, Environment, Local ballot measures, Politics, Seattle, Seattle bag tax, Taxes

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