The lawmakers have confirmed on Sunday that they are going to block the city from introducing a 5-cent fee on paper and plastic bags. The City Council passed the law last year that is expected to introduce the new fee on disposable bags which will come into effect on February 15. However, according Senator Simcha Felder, who sponsored the bill to block the new fee, the State Senate is likely to vote on the measure on Tuesday which can block the new fee. The fate of the legislation is not quite certain as Assembly is controlled by the Democrats.
In a press conference, Senator Felder stated that it will be unfair for the authority to bring further stress on the New Yorkers. He urged Mayor de Blasio to stop taking steps that may make things worse for the people. The fee is originally proposed to encourage the New Yorkers to use reusable bags that is expected to reduce city wastes. According to a report, the city authority spends $12.5 million annually to process 10 billion plastic bags that the New Yorkers trash every year.
Although the new fee was supposed to come into affect by October 2016, the Council later shifted the date to February, 2017 which allowed them to avoid the state action temporarily to block the bill. According to Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island), at least twenty-seven city members have co-sponsored the bill that will block the fee on plastic bags. Mr. Cusick stated that he believes there is still time to do something for the New Yorkers. However, so far there have been no discussions about a compromise.
Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), who sponsored the bill to introduce the new fee, claimed that those who are opposing it have no compromise although they are pretending to have one. He also added that those who are against it are not willing to take any step to reduce the plastic bag wastes from New York City. According to him, comprise has been made already as the bill that was passed by the Council reduced the fee by 50% as his original proposal was to make it 10 cent. Those who are not willing to pay the tax can avoid it quite easily by bringing in a reusable bag, Mr. Lander stated.
Although the Assembly Democrats earlier gave hints that they may consider taking actions to block the fee, Lander hopes that things will change now with Donald Trump winning the presidential election.