County Dems Impose New Tax on Shoppers

Democrats on the Fairfax County Board Supervisors voted last night to impose a new tax on shoppers. Effective January 1, 2022, county residents will incur a 5-cent tax on plastic bags in grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores.

Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) was the board’s lone dissenting vote. “Residents have seen a 45 percent increase in their taxes over the last decade, inflation rising at the fastest rate in 12 years, on top of the impacts of the pandemic during which many have lost their loved ones, homes, jobs and businesses,” Herrity said last night. “It should go without saying that this is the wrong time for a new tax, especially one that will disproportionately impact people who are already struggling.”

Fairfax GOP Chairman Steve Knotts echoed Herrity’s sentiments today. “In these hard times, we should be cutting taxes, not raising them or creating new ones,” the chairman said.

County Democrats maintain that taxing plastic bags will discourage their use and thus help save the environment. However, according to the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, the facts are not on the Democrats’ side:

  • ENERGY SAVINGS: Plastic bags require 70% less energy to manufacture and consume 96% less water than what’s used to make paper bags.
  • DISPOSAL ADVANTAGES: Once disposed, reusable bags take up to 9.3% more space than plastic bags in landfills.
  • REUSABLE COTTON BAGS AREN’T REUSED ENOUGH: Standard reusable cotton grocery bags must be reused at least 131 times “to ensure that they have lower global warming potential than” a plastic bag used only once. In fact, one study found that organic cotton bags need to be reused 20,000 times to have the same environment performance of a plastic bag reused once.
  • NO OIL INVOLVED: American-made plastic bags are produced from byproducts of natural gas, not oil.

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