Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is This The Right Time...

...to add a 20 cent tax to each plastic shopping bag? My family of six went grocery shopping for the week on Sunday, and it took 15 plastic bags to carry home our purchases. With the proposed plastic bag tax, that would have added $3 to our total. Projected out over a year, that's $156 added to our food budget. Who can afford that? We would just drive to Moscow and do our grocery shopping. The plastic bags there are free and we wouldn't spend $3 in gas to get there and back. Sign the online petition to stop this tax here if you haven't already.
The Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index for food and beverages jumped 10 points between July 2006 and July 2007, and then leapt nearly 12 points between July 2007 and last month. Prices have slowly increased throughout the year.

According to the index, a dozen eggs cost an average of 51 cents more now than they did a year ago. Red delicious apples are up 38 cents a pound, and white bread costs about 18 cents more per loaf. Chicken and ground beef are more expensive, too, and the price of milk rose almost 5 percent in July alone.
- "Paying more, getting less; Area residents forced to make sacrifices as food prices continue to climb," Moscow-Pullman Daily News, August 16, 2008
Wholesale inflation surged in July, leaving prices for the past year rising at the fastest pace in 27 years, according to government data released Tuesday.

The Labor Department reported that wholesale prices shot up 1.2 percent in July, pushed higher by rising costs for energy, motor vehicles and other products. The increase was more than twice the 0.5 percent gain that economists expected.


Food prices rose by 0.3 percent in July after a 1.5 percent surge in June. Beef prices jumped by 7.4 percent, the biggest increase in nearly four years. Milk prices shot up by 5 percent, the biggest gain in a year, while soft drink prices rose by 2.4 percent, the largest increase in four years.
- "Wholesale prices rising at fastest pace since 1981," Seattle Times, August 19, 2008


April E. Coggins said...

I stopped by the fruit stand on Grand Ave. and took home my organically grown fruit in a plastic bag. LOL!

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

"Is this the right time to add a 20 cent tax to each plastic shopping bag?"

Obviously not - there is not ever a right time to do that.

Sweet Tea Addiction said...

There will never be a right time to add a fee (tax). I think calling it a fee somehow makes it right in their minds and plus if just might fool the public.

April E. Coggins said...

I am looking forward to the Daily Evergreen man on the street interview in which a college student from Seattle is quoted as saying, "I think it's a good idea because it will help the environment. Besides, I do all my shopping in Moscow so the new fee won't really affect me."

Tom Forbes said...

The universally recognized legal distincition between fee and tax is that the primary purpose of a "tax" is to raise revenue, while a the primary purpose of a "fee" is to offset the cost of providing a service.

In this case, as 20 cents is far more than the cost of the bag and the store providing the bag does not realize any payback, it is a tax, regardless of whether the city keeps the money or not.

The analogy comparing the plastic bag tax to paying a "fee" for a speeding ticket or noxious weeds in a letter to the editor on Saturday is completely absurd. Those are not fees, they are penalties for illegal actions. Plastic bags are not (yet) illegal.

April E. Coggins said...

Each plastic bag costs the retailer a fraction of a penny. But lets say each bag costs one penny. Is a 2000% fee or tax fair?

Tom Forbes said...

Exactly, April. It is nothing more than a heavy-handed attempt to discourage/stop actions deemed inappropriate by some. Not ILLEGAL, mind you, as determined by law, just objectionable to the "progressives."

Can anyone think of any other fees/taxes/laws designed to solely control/limit politically incorrect behavior? Can you imagine what the Pandora's Box this would open if passed?

April E. Coggins said...

Speeding and noxious weeds nagatively affect other people. Using a plastic bag to carry items from a store to home affects no one.

LS said...

The thing that really gets me is apparently those of us who are "less intelligent" take our 15 bags of groceries home, unload the groceries and then throw the plastic bags out the window. I am so tired of "them" telling me where to shop, what to think how to recycle, etc. I recycle as much, if not more than the next guy!!

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

Tom -

Brian tells me that we've got more than 40 signatures so far. The students are back and they're not liking this bag tax idea.

April E. Coggins said...

"Can anyone think of any other fees/taxes/laws designed to solely control/limit politically incorrect behavior? Can you imagine what the Pandora's Box this would open if passed?"

I can think of at least one other Pullman ordinance that fits. The required garbage and recycling fee. That one still sticks in my craw.