Plastic bags: bad. Plastic bag tax? Might be bad, too (Editorial)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cuyahoga County Commissioners' latest proposed tax strives to make the Cleveland area a little greener and a little cleaner.

The legislation, just introduced, would require stores to charge a dime for each plastic or paper bag used by shoppers.

Now that could translate into a dollar or so each trip given the number of bags people cart out of supermarkets.

Fewer bags leaving checkouts mean fewer bags filling trash dumps and littering the streets.

But the real goal, according to Councilwoman Sunny Simon -- who introduced the bill -- is to protect Lake Erie.

According to her stats, over five million pounds of plastic ends up in our water each year.

Now, this tax isn't unique.

The City of Chicago implemented a similar tax earlier this year.

Washington, DC has bag fees on its books, and cities like L.A. and San Francisco have even gone so far as to ban the bags.

Look, we need to help preserve the environment, but I'm wondering if a tax is the right thing.

Either the bags are OK, or they aren't – and if they aren't, just ban them.

Adding another tax will just create another revenue source that government will learn to rely on and need to replace if and when it dries up.

The only plus to plastic bags is: I can try to hang 20 of them on my arms, so I can feel like a he-man and impress my wife by bringing all the groceries in one trip.

But I'm not really fooling her.

And another tax, even with good intentions, isn't going to fool us.

Think about a plastic ban.

Think about a discount for bringing your own bags from home.

Give us a reason to join in the battle, not fight it.

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