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The Lorton Perspective: Do You Want A Bag Tax?

Twenty cents per bag and the Virginia General Assembly is talking about it

Buying groceries could get more expensive in the Commonwealth. Virginia Delegates Scott Surovell (D-44) and Joe Morrisey (D-74) recently introduced a bill that would charge shoppers 20 cents per plastic bag they take home from grocery stores. 

What do you think about the bag tax? Today, Patch asked some Lorton residents. 

Michelle Fowler, of Lorton, just walked out of the Shopper's Food Warehouse on Lorton Market Street: 

"I think it's a good idea because we need to start recycling for all of these bags. If we pay for the bags, we'll second guess ourselves and bring in our own cloth bags... And I don't believe in taxing everything, but I hate these plastic bags."

Carlos Carter, 14, was hanging out with his friends near Caribou Coffee on Lorton Market Street:

"A tax on bags? That's terrible...It's terrible because we need to be spending money on food. Food is more important than a shopping bag."

Carl Steele, 27, was in the group of friends. 

"It's not right. You're already spending money with groceries."

Adam McNeil, 22, doesn't want a bag tax.

"Everyone's in a crisis and why would you waste your money on plastic bags? 

Maurice Clarke is the owner of  in Lorton:

"Bad idea. I'm already paying taxes for the food. The bags should be complementary from the store. And I'm green. I do have bags that I normally take to the store, but I don't have them with me all the time."

elizabeth January 20, 2012 at 01:46 AM
This is absolutely crazy and takes advantage of the consumer who is already driving the economy by purchasing goods.
Duane Murphy January 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Real reason for bag tax is to pay for the cleanup of trash. Not being judgemental, but seeing first-hand and helping remove the tons of plastic bags from our local streams, most people would benefit from thinking about their actions affecting quality of life for others. I see everyone,and wildlife and aquatic life benefitting with less plastic being produced! Carry a reusable bag to the store, use a metal water bottle and be a good neighbor!
elizabeth January 20, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Duane, I am a good neighbor but the government should not have to coerce me into being one. That is stepping over the line of good government and representation
Wildermann January 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Consumers are already paying for the plastic bag factored into the price you pay at the checkout. Paying up front may help consumers think twice about how they dispose of the bag. The up front fee goes to worthy efforts to clean up behind thoughtless citizens. Reuse your plastic bags and you pay nothing additional.
Laura January 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I don't think it will eliminate the litter and it will add a burden to the elderly and poor among us.
Elayne January 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I agree that something has to be done, common sense isn’t winning the game on litter..Drive anywhere up Lorton road to 123 Ox road and see trash bags in the trees, come on people. I use my recycle bags that cost me a buck each ... I bought 10 of them and gave up the junk food for a week...So it all works out makes it easier to carry and holds more..
cmvoorhees January 20, 2012 at 10:41 PM
If people buy a plastic bag, they may think twice before trashing the environment. I prefer paper over plastic and have paid for paper. Change can be a good thing. If people cannot afford cloth bags, our church and community groups can provide assistance. In the end, hopefully, less plastic bags will end up in our streams, trees, fences, etc. It is time to stop collecting these bags as ornaments on our landscape. Everyone should want to stop this trash problem. What is your solution?
elizabeth January 20, 2012 at 10:51 PM
OK so what is really being said here is that there appears to be little if any enforcement on the issue of litter. Perhaps that is what we should concentrate on in lieu of a "tax" for bags. The majority of people do not use these bags to litter. So if there is more litter on the roads then ask why and how this can be prevented. If Delegate Surovell wants to charge a fee for bags you can rest assured that those of who frequent stores in th.e Lorton area may think twice and go to those same stores elsewhere. He is hurting those people who can least afford to go to other stores in the Lorton area.
Rob Calligaro January 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I work in DC and find their bag tax a great influence on my shopping habits; as a result I have found I also make a greater effort to go without a bag, or provide my own bags when shopping in VA. The tax is a good way of rewarding those people, like myself, who make the effort to go without by letting them realize a "savings" while taxing those that do not make the same effort. The tax is a way of making people accountable for their conservation efforts. Sure this is a sneaky way of increasing our taxes, but I'm okay with that because one way or another we are all going to pay for other people's trash beyond our own, why not start today with a tax on bags and get more for our effort? For those that feel this tax a hardship, retailers could keep a recycling bin of bags open to their customers and thereby allow used bags to be recycled instantaneously.
elizabeth January 21, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Rob, You make a good point, it is a sneaky way to increase taxes but as you say I can choose not to pay to increase my taxes per bringing my own bags. Good pointe made. Thank you.
ann elise sauer January 21, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Mixed feelings. A nickel tax isn't that much; 20 cents is way too much! And while I believe that anything that helps eliminate the unsightly and dangerous trash along our roadways and in our neighborhoods is probably a good idea, I don't really believe unthinking and uncaring litterbugs are going to stop throwing trash out their car windows or dropping it wherever they go, not matter how much they pay in hidden or overt taxes. For those of us who use plastic bags to pick up after our pets when we're off our property, I guess we'll have to buy the expensive, perfumed bags at the pet store!
Wildermann January 21, 2012 at 06:01 PM
It's not a tax. It is a user fee. You use the stores bag, you pay for the bag. Bring your own cloth bag or a recycled plastic or paper bag you pay nothing. It requires nothing more than some simple planning. Keep some recycled plastic bags in your car trunk or a bag or two in your purse or pocket. A small personal responsibility price to promote a cleaner environment.
Wildermann January 21, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Newspapers are delivered in plastic bags. I don't have a dog but I have friends that do and I pass on the plastic newspaper bags to them. People need to stop framing legislative initiatives to protect the environment as imposing costly burdens on themselves and to be resourceful and inventive as they adapt to new strategies to resolve longstanding environmental problems. This is a very simple change to implement that can have an immediate positive impact on unsightly litter.
deb c June 21, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Add this sneaky revenue grab to the long list of the fleecing of consumers! These bags and paper ones are factored into the cost of our groceries so we will pay twice for the same thing. Do you really think grocers give these away as "complimentary"? Right-o!! NOT! Where I'm from, they will do away with plastic and just charge for paper ones (or byo). It is supposedly unconstitutional for a Gov. to force consumers to buy a product, but what I have seen a lot of lately is that they are also doing the opposite by either doing away with products or making them cost prohibitive. Makes me sick to my stomach how sneaky they are. The CEO of paper bags will be very happy!

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