Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Whoo Hoo! No Tax On Plastic Bags This Year

Monday, a House Committee voted to defer indefinitely two bills by Baton Rouge Democratic State Rep. Regina Barrow to add a $.05 tax to every single use, plastic carry bag in Louisiana.

Rep. Barrow even defined “a single use, plastic carry bag” as “a bag composed primarily of thermoplastic synthetic polymeric material used to carry or transport purchased goods.”
You and I define it as the bag you get when the grocery store clerk says “Paper or Plastic?” and you choose Plastic, or you purchase some snacks at a convenience store.

Obviously Rep. Barrow doesn’t realize that there are more petrochemical plants in Baton Rouge than any other city in the world (ok, I’m exaggerating – but there are a lot of petrochemical plants there).
As I said, Rep. Barrow was not content with authoring one bill, she really wanted a tax on plastic bags so she doubled down with two bills.

It was not clear whether Rep. Barrow expected the Retailers to pay the plastic bag tax (thus increasing the cost of goods to consumers) or if the tax would be added to your bill at checkout time (thus adding the tax directly to the consumer but also adding more paperwork man hours to business owners  and adding even more cost to the goods purchased).
In addition to defining “a single use, plastic carry bag”, House Bill 529 also sought to call for a vote to add the tax as a Constitutional Amendment.

I don’t know about you, but the Louisiana State Constitution is already so screwed up, we don’t need to add more to it.
Barrow’s 2nd bill, the appropriately numbered House Bill 711, was nearly identical to HB 529 except that it would not have added the tax as a Constitutional Amendment but would have created the “Plastic Bag Management Tax Fund”.

And, what would the “Plastic Bag Management Tax Fund” (and, I’m sure, it’s affiliated Board and infrastructure) do?
Thankfully, we’ll never know.

Until next session when I’m sure Rep. Barrow will try again.
And again.

And, maybe she’ll author a third bill too.
It didn’t work twice this year. Maybe three bills in one session could be the charm.

But then again, we could always thwart Rep. Barrow’s plans by just saying “Paper, please.”