Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

It's in the Bag

A state Senator seeks to tax plastic bags.

It's in the Bag

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Get ready for the "battle of the bags."

BE: An older ladies wrestling match?

JB: Oh, nice. E-mail that to NOW. No, insentive, politically incorrect one, I'm talking about plastic bags. Our own state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montco, just introduced a bill (SB 590) to put a two-cent tax on plastic bags.

BE: Oh, as a way to raise revenue to attack the state's $4 billion deficit, save unions and prevent Pennsylvania from becoming Wisconsin?

JB: Wrong again, editorina. It's to protect the environment. El Leacho says such bags "last for a thousand years" and pollute the planet, and a tax would discourage their use.

BE: Dog-walkers won't like that.

JB: Which is why he's not seeking to ban the bags. Dog-walkers, he says, can pay the 14-cents a-week it'll take to clean up after Fido and thereby contribute to a cleaner Mother Earth.

BE: Still, sounds a little like Sarah Palin's "nanny state."

JB: Which is what riles the Center for Consumer Freedom. It put out a press release condemning Leach as "misguided," pushing "activist-driven junk science" and offering "knee-jerk, feel-good regulation."

BE: Knee-jerk? Aren't plastic bags banned elsewhere?

JB: Indeed. In many European countries. In many California cities. And, according to mothering.com, a ban is pending in Oregon.

BE: Mothering.com sounds like the nanny state, too.

JB: But Leach asks what's to lose: "I grew up folding the paper bags we brought from the grocery store. And I don't remember a lot of conversation about how unbearable our lives were becoming because of using paper bags."

BE: Plus, paper bags are better because they hold more groceries than the pitiful plastic bags supermarkets give you. But in this anti-tax atmosphere it's hard to envision Capitol rallies featuring chants of "What do we want? A BAG TAX! When do we want it? NOW."

JB: Well, that's just YOUR two cents. Think Cairo. Think Libya. Think Madison. Think Battle of the Bags! GRRR!

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected