Mayor Fenty Seeks to Raid Bag Tax Fund

April 2, 2010

A great catch by Greater Greater Washington. David Alpert writes:

Mayor Fenty’s proposed FY2011 budget reprograms the revenue from the Anacostia cleanup fund, generated by the 5¢ bag fee. The Council should quickly reject this approach.

…Wells Chief of Staff Charles Allen pointed out that because the law set up a special “Fund” for the bag fee revenue, the Mayor had to specifically call out the rearrangement of revenue in the budget and seek an “Intra-District Transfer” to reuse it. That calls attention to the move, making it easier for the Council to refuse.

The five cent bag tax in Washington was justified on two grounds. First, it was meant to reduce the use of plastic bags. That seems to have worked. Next, money raised was meant to go into the “Anacostia Cleanup Fund” in order to improve the river’s waterways. With Fenty wanting to raid the fund for general services it is going to be a harder case to make in other places around the country that their proposed bag tax is anything more than a revenue grab.

More on bag taxes here and here.


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