PARSIPPANY — Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce said the new bag tax passed by the Democrat-led state legislature is just another sign that Democrats are more interested in pandering to far-left special interests than making New Jersey more affordable for working people.
The bill, now on Governor Phil Murphy’s desk, requires customers to pay 5-cents for every plastic or paper bag they use to carry their purchases.
“People still need bags to bring home their groceries,” said DeCroce. “It will not reduce the use of plastic bags and its impact on the environment will be marginal. It will succeed only in taking millions of dollars from consumers.”
DeCroce cited a study by Montgomery County, Md., which enacted a 5-cent tax on disposable shopping bags in 2012. The analysis showed that the number of bags sold in the county actually went up — from 60,000 bags in 2013 to nearly 62,000 bags.
“The supporters of the plastic bag tax failed to use common sense when they created their bill and obviously do not understand how people really live,” said DeCroce. “If a plastic bag is reused in the home as a garbage bag, doesn’t that eliminate the need for another small plastic garbage bag?”
DeCroce said the issue of plastic bag use is far larger than what people use to take home their groceries. She said consumers reuse bags for many purposes – including lining trash cans, storing food, and to clean up after their pets.
“What do the proponents of the plastic bag tax propose people do to replace the many uses of plastic bags?” asked DeCroce. “If Maryland is any example, people are going to go out and buy new plastic bags and continue to use them.”
While the plastic bag tax purports to raise money for environmental awareness, the assemblywoman predicted that most of the tax money will be eaten up by state bureaucracy.
“At the end of the day all this tax will do is take millions of dollars out of the economy and inconvenience consumers and store owners, while failing to meet any meaningful environmental goals,” said DeCroce.