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NYC plastic bag fee blocked by Gov. Cuomo

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But Cuomo calls for New York State to take action on “plastic bag problem.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has blocked New York City’s plan to put a five-cent fee on plastic and paper carryout bags.

The legislation passed the New York City Council in 2016 by a 28-20 vote. Early this year, however, the state Legislature’s two chambers voted to overturn the city ordinance, in combined votes of 165-32. The leader of the State Assembly said members heard from many constituents opposed to fees.

In a statement, Gov. Cuomo said the city’s approach was “deeply flawed” because it allowed merchants to keep the five-cent fee, amounting to US$100 million a year, instead of using it to fight waste and litter. “The windfall profit to private entities is unjustifiable and unnecessary,” he said. “New York – like the rest of the nation – is currently struggling with the environmental impact of plastic and paper bag waste, particularly with a focus on plastic bags. Plastic bags are convenient, but not without financial and environmental costs…A statewide solution is the most appropriate way to address this issue.”

As an alternative to the five-cent fee, Gov. Cuomo promised to form “a statewide task force to develop a uniform state plan for addressing the plastic bag problem,” complete with local leaders, other stakeholders and leaders appointed by the Senate and the Assembly.  Cuomo set an end-of-year deadline for a report and proposed legislation.



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