Bag Monsters thrive on excessive bag use. The humans in America use 102 Billion* plastic shopping bags every year! In order for Bag Monsters to take over the planet, they believe it is critical to increase this level of consumption. Hilex Poly, in support of Bag Monsters everywhere, filed yet another lawsuit, this time they are sueing the County of Los Angeles in response to that commuunity’s decision to ban plastic bags!!
The suit claims the ban violates violates the tenets of California Proposition 26, which requires local taxes to be approved by a two-thirds vote. Under the current Los Angeles County ordinance, retail markets will no longer hand out free plastic bags and should a customer wish a paper bag (made with 40% recycled content), they would need to pay 10 cents a bag. In a statement released by Hilex Poly, Hilex Poly’s Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Policy, Mark Daniels stated that “This charge is not only illegal but it’s a hidden tax, exactly what Proposition 26 was meant to stop.”
What is interesting about this latest warfare in the courts by Hilex Poly, is that this minimal charge is completely optional. If a customer does not want to purchase a paper bag, they need only bring their reusable bag to shop.
Further, preliminary legal analysis indicates that Proposition 26 was crafted to prevent governments from obtaining revenue by charging mandatory “fees” or “charges” to benefit the coffers of those governments. In the case of Los Angeles County, the retailers will keep any monies from customers who purchase paper bags, to educate customers about the law. A legal analysis of the then-proposed San Jose ban on plastic bags was completed by Richard Doyle, City Attorney, in December 2, 2010 and wrote, in part:
“the purpose of Proposition 26 is to limit the Legislature and local government from adopting “new taxes as ‘fees’ in order to extract even more revenue from California taxpayers.” Moreover, the paragraph in the initiative, which discusses the burden of proving when a levy, charge, or other exaction is not a tax, refers to the amounts raised in the context of funding a governmental activity. …
In this instance, the minimum charge for the sale of recycled paper bags is neither a tax nor a regulatory fee impacted by Proposition 26 because it does not result in revenue to the state or local government to pay for the cost of public programs or projects necessary to regulate the activity of the business or person.”
The humans in this world, once again wonder — If Hilex Poly and other plastic bag companies would take the money they spend on litigation and lobbyists, and instead invest in a product that is less able to become litter, wouldn’t everyone profit?
* U.S. International Trade Commission. Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags from Indonesia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Publication 4080. May 2009, pg. IV-7. – View Full Report