Anti-tax group uses Fenty street-sweeping plan for national campaign against bag tax
An anti-tax group is pointing to a plan by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) to rally opposition to proposals in at least 15 states for a bag tax similar to the one enacted in the District earlier this year.
The Tax Foundation issued a release Wednesday noting Fenty wants to use some of the revenue from the city's 5-cent bag tax - which was promised to go into a newly created Anacostia River Cleanup Fund - to pay for street sweeping. The city has been paying for street sweeping for years from the general fund. Now, the Fenty administration argues bag tax revenue can be used because trash often washes in the Anacostia River.
Using Fenty as an example, the Tax Foundation is now calling proposals for bag taxes in other states "another general revenue grab by public officials."
"Politicians are loath to call anything a tax, so these bag taxes are often incorrectly called fees," said Tax Foundation State Policy Analyst Justin Higginbottom. "A fee is paid by a user for a specific service, while a tax raises revenue for general services."
According to the foundation, bag tax legislation is pending or has been proposed in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
Many D.C. Council members are opposing Fenty's efforts to use the bag tax revenue for street sweeping, arguing it will undercut voters' faith in the law. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), chairman of the Committee of Public Works and Transportation, said in an interview today the revenue is "going to be sent back to the fund" when the council approves the fiscal year 2011 budget later this month.
May 13, 2010; 10:17 AM ET
Categories: Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig | Tags: Adrian Fenty, Anacostia River, Council of the District of Columbia, Tax Foundation
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