Cuomo blocks New York City Council plastic bag fee

The city's 5-cent plastic bag fee was set

In May a year ago, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and the city council instructed store owners to charge at least one nickel for single-use shopping bags.

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"The New York City Council's Bring Your Own Bag law would have stopped the scourge of plastic bags in our City, and this ridiculous State law undermines New York City's authority, hurts New Yorkers and sets a risky precedent for our city and every other locality in the state". Cuomo criticized the NYC fee because the 5 cents for every plastic bag would go to the merchants as profit. "Although 5 cents doesn't seem like a great sum, NY consumers are already inundated with fees, fines, tolls, and other schemes that constitute a regressive and burdensome tax in NY".

The pair noted that a number of other cities across the country and across the planet have passed similar laws, and that New York City's statute would exempt people on public assistance from the extra impost. "Statewide, New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags annually".

In response to the complaint that the fee was a windfall for merchants, City Council members argued that they had no choice in allowing merchants to keep the money, because state law does not give the city authority to direct fees to specific programs.

"Most recently, New York City passed a local law that would impose a fee of at least five cents on all carryout merchandise bags", Cuomo said.

Because plastic bag waste impacts numerous areas in NY, the governor is creating a task force to study the issue and has not ruled out taxes and fees statewide.

Critics say overruling the city is an example of government overreach. "In either case, the windfall profit to private entities is unjustifiable and unnecessary", Cuomo stated. To that end, today I am establishing a statewide task force to develop a uniform State plan for addressing the plastic bag problem.

"Questions as to what the statewide solution should be are very much in debate: should the State ban paper and plastic carry-out products?"

15, NY was set to join cities like Washington D.C., Portland (OR), Portland (ME), San Francisco and, most recently, Chicago, by charging consumers a fee for using disposable bags. "It is unfortunate that the state government had to get involved, but it was necessary", Grodenchik said. "I have seen plastic bags in the trees while hiking in the Adirondacks and driving down the Grand Concourse in the Bronx".

Cuomo, meanwhile, said any potential plastic-bag fee should go toward cleaning up plastic waste.

A joint statement from Chin and Councilman Brad Lander was more resigned: "We fought plastic bags, and for now, plastic bags won", they wrote, riffing off a lyric from the Bobby Fuller Four, further popularized by The Clash.

"This task force will be different than usual as this matter requires expeditious action".

New York State has proudly led this nation's environmental movement from its inception, fostering the early conservationist principles of Theodore Roosevelt, and birthing modern environmentalism at Storm King. I will ask the Senate and the Assembly to appoint Co-Chairs with me so that the recommendation can be quickly legislated.

"This looks like a special law of the kind that New York State constitution prohibits", Lander added. Local governments and stakeholders will also be included.

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