New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is calling for a 6-cent fee for every plastic shopping bag given to shoppers, with 1 cent going to the retailer and 5 cents going to the city, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
Officials estimate that the plastic-bag surcharge could bring in $16 million annually. The surcharge is considered a fee and not a tax, so it only needs to be approved by New York’s City Council.
However, several City Council members told the New York Times that only a few months ago, speakers testified in a public debate — over a proposed bill requiring all stores that provide plastic bags to accept plastic bags for recycling– that at least 25 cents a bag fee was needed to get consumers to change their behavior.
Critics are also concerned that the plastic-bag surcharge may affect poor residents, as well as small business, disproportionately.