Albany, NY - State Legislation To Quash NYC Bag Tax Clears First Hurdle, Passing Albany Committee By Wide Margin
Albany, NY - Opponents of the highly unpopular shopping bag bill that would force New York City consumers to pay a nickel for every bag used when making purchases are cautiously optimistic that the legislation passed by the City Council and approved by Mayor de Blasio may soon be history.
As previously reported on VIN News(http://goo.gl/a9vGbL), Councilman Brad Lander’s bag tax would have levied a five cent charge on single use paper and plastic bags in most retail establishments. The bill was highly criticized by members of the Jewish community who typically have large grocery orders, particularly those who are already struggling to make ends meet.
A vote on a bill introduced by Assemblyman Mike Cusick of Staten Island that would block the bag tax passed the Cities Committee in Albany today in by a margin of 13 to 2, a number that came as a surprise to just about everyone, said Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
“This is great,” an enthusiastic Hikind told VIN News. “I knew the bill would pass but I didn’t think we would get those numbers.”
The bill would have to be approved by the Senate and the Assembly before the current legislative session ends in two weeks. Hikind cautioned that while today’s vote was a step in the right direction, there are still additional hurdles to be cleared.
“There is no question the train is on the track but there is work to be done between the next week and the following week,” said Hikind. “We have a really good shot at stopping what the city did.”
Hikind urged city residents to reach out to their officials and voice their support for the Cusick bill in order to make sure that the New York City bag tax is finally defeated.
“This bill may have 30 sponsors but don’t go to sleep thinking this is a done deal,” said Hikind. “Call your assemblyman and tell them to support this bill.”
Still, Hikind noted that today’s developments were a positive sign.
“The bag tax passed the City Council by a vote of 28 to 20 and the mayor signed it,” said Hikind. “What happened today looks really good. 13 to 2 speaks loud and clear.”
Senator Simcha Felder said that he was excited by today’s developments, saying that the bag bill made no sense from the very beginning.
“Councilman Brad Lander stated quite clearly that this was done to irritate New Yorkers into behavioral change,” said Felder. “Since when is that the job of elected officials to irritate New Yorkers into behavioral change?”
Felder said that he understood the importance of issues including recycling and climate change but charged liberal members of the City Council with losing sight of what matters most to their constituents.
“Bag recycling became more important to them than the well being of the people,” said Felder. “They believe that they are on a mission from G-d to save the world but they shouldn’t be doing it on the backs of middle class and low income New Yorkers.”
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