During the budget battle late last month, the New Jersey legislature introduced and passed a bag tax that remains on Governor Murphy’s desk. Though time is running thin.
The 5-cent tax on traditional plastic and paper bags (A-3267/S-2600) is a regressive tax that will hurt New Jerseyans who can least afford the extra cost, all because Trenton can’t stop increasing spending.
It’s part of the legislature’s budget package, now passed and awaiting veto, that included other hikes like a massive corporate tax increase. They were countering Governor Murphy’s $1.7 billion in tax hikes included in his $37 billion-plus spending plan.
As an individual bill however, Murphy could sign the bag fee into law on its own, hammering those who can least afford it with nickel-and-diming taxes so Trenton can pass the money around to special interest allies.
The way consumption taxes such as this one are always sold to the public is with promises of environmental progress and much needed financing of specific public projects supported by voters. The reality never equals the pitch.
According to NorthJersey.com, “Murphy has about 30 days left to decide the fate of the 5-cent fee bill, passed hurriedly by the Legislature last month as lawmakers were scrambling to find new revenue sources. Dan Bryan, a spokesman for Murphy, said Monday that no final decision has been made regarding the bill.”
Signing this bag tax into law would prove to voters that Governor Murphy has more interest in fueling the state’s out of control spending than protecting low-and-moderate income families.