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Posted at 6:54 PM ET, 09/30/2010

Taxing our way to cleaner waters?

By washingtonpost.com editors

By John A. Boffa,
Washington

Regarding the Sept. 27 news story “Anacostia cleanup goal at issue”:

I was stunned to read that D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) believes the city’s 5-cent tax on paper and plastic bags has resulted in a 66 percent reduction in bags floating in the water. Even if we somehow know that pollution has been reduced by this much, how can Mr. Wells be sure the tax is the cause?

More stunning was Mr. Wells’s announcement that he plans to introduce a new bill “aimed at Styrofoam.” The last thing we need is some new tax by the D.C. Council, given the state of the economy.

If this trend continues, the D.C. Council will quickly gain a reputation as a legislative body that will tax anything whenever the spirit or financial need moves it. With the city facing a budget deficit, responsible council members should be looking at ways to reduce spending, not increasing taxes.

I have nothing against clean rivers. But I have little confidence that the money raised through such taxes ever makes it to river cleanup efforts.


By washingtonpost.com editors  | September 30, 2010; 6:54 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, Fenty, HotTopic, Mayor Fenty, environment, wildlife  
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