Seattle voters soundly rejected tax on paper and plastic shopping bags in yesterday’s election. Referendum 1, which would have imposed at a 20-cent per bag tax in the city of Seattle, was rejected by nearly 60% of voters.
The 20-cent bag tax was passed by the Seattle City Council approximately one year ago. 22,000 signatures, 2,000 more than required, were submitted last September to put the referendum on the ballot.
Rob Gala, a city council staffer and proponent of the measure told the New York Times that the bag tax was defeated because “more people are concerned about their cost of living than what they take their groceries home in.”
Estimated to cost each consumer an additional $300 per year, the bag tax would have imposed a significant financial burden at a time when many in Seattle and around the country are already cutting back and struggling to make ends meet. What Gala fails to mention is the fact that not only was the bag tax too costly, it was unnecessary and would not provide any benefit to the city or Pudget Sound.
As has already been noted on this website, 9 out of 10 Seattle residents already recycle and reuse disposable bags and studies show that the bag tax, much like San Francisco’s plastic bag ban, would have no visible impact on litter, which was not a problem to begin with in environmentally friendly Seattle.
Ultra-liberal Seattle’s rejection should give pause to the coercive utopians that have been introducing bag tax proposals around the country. The Washington, D.C. City Council recently passed a 5-cent bag tax.
Voters in ever-so-blue Seattle, which voted for Obama by over 80%, have shot down a horrible and unnecessary law passed by their city council. It’s time for DC voters to do likewise.