State lawmakers propose tax on disposable paper and plastic bags

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jan 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-04 17:01:19-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Your personal shopping items and the usual sales tax won’t be the only things adding up at the cash register in the future if some Virginia lawmakers have their way.

Legislators have introduced senate and house bills that would allow “any locality may, by duly adopted ordinance, impose upon every consumer of tangible personal property a tax in the amount of five cents ($0.05) for each disposable paper bag or disposable plastic bag provided, whether or not provided free of charge, to the consumer by retailers in grocery stores.”

It’s called the "Disposable Paper Bag and Plastic Bag Tax."

Customers News 3 spoke with Friday afternoon were split on the proposal.

“I think it’s a bad idea because it should come along with the product,” shopper Kevin White told News 3.

“I think that’s a little too high, but I think it's a great idea.” Betty Cambron explained.

Cambron thinks this is a good way to get shoppers into using recyclable bags more.

“It will kind of get people in the realm of bringing in their own carry-things. People just throw plastic all over the place and it gets in the drainage and it gets, of course, in the ocean.”

Related: Kroger plans to ditch plastic bags by 2025

The bill also applies to drug and convenience stores as well.

For people wondering where the money will go, the bill states that cities and counties shall use the funds for pollution and litter mitigation.

But that still isn’t enough for some people.

“I can understand that, but I would still rather not pay five cents per shopping bag,” Jennifer Bronson, who recycles bags said.

There are some exceptions like bags used to carry ice cream, meat, alcohol and prescription drugs.

The bills were submitted before the start of next week’s legislative session.

If passed, you likely won’t see the extra charge at the register until next year.

You can read the Senate bill here. Click here to read the House bill.