If you live in California then you know about the recent votes and, odds are in favor you are one of countless people who made the same mistake I did this week. Go to the store with a heaping grocery list, cram as much stuff into the cart as possible, then get to the checkout line only to realize there are no bags! That is, unless you are willing to fork over ten cents per bag. So what do you do? Put your stuff back and go home to get a reusable bag or fork over ten + cents for a few bags? If you do like I did, you cram it all into one bag and hope for the best. A terrifying walk to the car later with a ripping and overstuffed bag you get into your car and wonder, “how the hell is this ban helping anything?”
The premise of the plastic bag ban is not necessarily in a bad spirit. Plastics have been known to cause quite a bit of damage to the ecosystem long term. And of course a major source of plastic is the bags we used at grocery stores. So this is good for the environment right? Well… not as much as one might think.
Let’s break down a few things. The expected annual tax revenue for the state from this 10 cent per bag tax is estimated to be around $300 million. That’s a lot of coin. A huge amount in fact. An amount that has all sorts of mainstream liberal publications celebrating. Dig a bit deeper, though, and you find that practically none of that money is going towards protecting the environment. Instead, it’s going to special interest groups and organizations and being masked as solely for the good of the environment. These same publications that are praising this bill as a success are the same ones that contribute a huge amount of plastic waste to our environment. (Be honest, how many of you have seen a newspaper in a plastic bag left indefinitely on a driveway?)
Let’s face it, we do have a problem with pollution and how we handle our trash. The damaging effects plastic can have on wildlife is well documented. But let’s not pretend that an incognito tax to support political interests is actually benefiting the environment. I for one would be more open to the plastic bag ban if the revenue gained was actually going to help the environment. Someone told me once, “Conservatives conserve.” And that is true. I am a proud Republican who cares about the environment, supports conservation and pollution cleanup, and does not like being rooked. So call Prop 67 for what it is. It’s not a push to save the environment, it’s a covert tax grab. It’s time to push these so called green lawmakers to either make a common sense law that doesn’t screw people over or push them to actually use their funds for the environment.
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