A GREEN TAX? I DO NOT THINK THAT WORD MEANS WHAT YOU THINK IT DOES. Cash strapped Chicago is imposing another tax I'll have to pay when I'm downtown:
A new tax on paper and plastic bags in Chicago will generate an estimated $12.9 million annually for the city's coffers but is unlikely to reduce the number of bags used by Chicagoans.Honestly, the only green thing about the tax is the money it will bring in.
The 7 cent per bag tax was included in the new city budget approved on Nov. 16 and will go into effect on Jan. 1, but analysts say the fee is probably too low to change the behavior of Chicago residents or businesses. After the tax is collected, most of the revenue will flow directly to the city's budget and will not be used for environmental restoration or pollution clean-up—as is the case in other places where similar taxes have been imposed for supposedly environmental reasons.
The city will get 5 cents of the tax from every bag, while retailers will be allowed to keep the other 2 pennies per bag. An analysis by the Better Government Association, an Illinois-based civil action organization, found that retailers could pocket as much as $3.7 million next year because of the tax.
While the city and retailers will be able to get more money from shoppers, the bag tax probably won't do much to change behavior.
"The Chicago tax, which will apply to paper as well as plastic, is far lower than the 30-cent a bag charge that successfully curbed behavior in Ireland, raising questions about whether shoppers at grocery and retail outlets will view it more as an annoying trifle than a penalty to actively avoid," the Better Government Association concludes.