Once again, middle class taxpayers are in the cross hairs of the Democrats’ expansionist government policies. On Monday, The Denver Post reported that Denver City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega is ready to introduce a bill that would assess a five-cent fee (she claims that it is not a tax) on plastic bags at the grocery store. There is no explanation at how she arrived at the five cent amount, but there you have it.
This endeavor sounds a lot like a solution looking for a problem. The Denver Post article cites the reasons underpinning this proposed law include plastic bags becoming lodged in trees or floating down streams. We cannot even remember the last time we saw a plastic grocery bag in a tree or stream. In fact, we see a lot of these bags actually being reused as trash bags or to pick up pet waste.
Further, a recent study published last August by professors at University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University found that following the initiation of a 2007 bag fee in San Francisco, E. coli infections spiked and there was a 46 percent increase in deaths from foodborne illness in the following three months. The study attributed this to the use of reusable bags, which are rarely washed.
Of course, this tax, which discourages the use of plastic bags and encourages the re-use of bags and use of reusable bags, is designed to inflict the brunt of the damage on the middle class. The rich will simply view it as another small annoyance set in place by an ever-growing government. Those on food stamps – a population that has grown by 85% in Colorado since 2008 – will be exempt from paying the fee under Ortega’s plan.
Mayor Hancock said that this tax is something that he would consider, but through his spokesperson expressed concern about how this would impact the poor, stating to The Denver Post that he would expect “thoughtful approach to the impact on low-income individuals and families.”
So who is looking out for the middle class? We have seen time and time again that it is not the elected Democrats in government and their appointed bureaucrats and administrators.