Floridians have a chance to stop an increase in their taxes. A plan released by the state would have added a tax to a simple, everyday item: shopping bags. Some legislators wanted to make Florida the first state in the nation to ban disposable plastic and paper bags. Under a plan released by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the first year the tax was implemented each bag would have a five cent tax added to it. Each subsequent year the tax would rise by five cents until Floridians would have to pay 25 cents for each bag that they use. That’s a quarter for each bag. Even a small shopping trip, say four bags, would cost a dollar more for each trip to the grocery store; it would be even worse if you’re buying for a family. Next time you go shopping, add up how much extra this tax would add; then expand that over the whole year.

Understandably, much of the public was opposed to such a scheme. Consumers and retailers alike voiced concern with the idea, with retailers worrying the negative effect it would have on their businesses and customers feeling this was a classic instance of the government overstepping its bounds. Thankfully, the government listened. Shortly after the plan was initially released, the DEP redacted the report, telling a state retail association that the report was released “prematurely”.
All this started when the state signed into law the “The Energy, Climate Change, and Economic Security Act of 2008”, part of which required “the DEP to perform an analysis and submit a report to the Legislature by February 1, 2010 regarding the necessity and efficacy of both statewide and local regulation of bags used by consumers to carry products from retail establishments.” That somehow translated into a bag tax. Now the DEP is saying that it will stick more to what the law mandated for this issue, and perform a detailed analysis of their bag tax plan.
Importantly, part of this analysis includes public meetings and online forums, where Floridians can voice their opposition to the state taking more of their money. Click here to go to the state’s “Retail Bags Report” homepage.