By Matt Rooney
So tired of paying New Jersey taxes you’re tempted to scream into a bag?
Fair warning: the bag is now being taxed, too.
A-3267/S-2600 passed the legislature this week; if signed into law, the plastic and paper bags you obtain when checking out at supermarkets, retail outlets, restaurants, and pharmacies (either part of a “chain” or larger than 2,000 square feet) would henceforth carry a 5-cent “fee.”
The customer pays the fee, not the store, and that could add up if you do a lot of shopping. 1 cent is retained by the storefront but, while there is supposed to be a dedicated fund for the revenue, there’s an out built into the legislation for reappropriation to the general fund.
But it’s not a “fee” at all, is it?
My first problem (0f many): (1) The “fee” is actually a tax by any other name.
It’s not a mere matter of semantics. When you pay a fee, by definition, you’re supposed to receive a service of some kind in return for your payment.
For example, paying someone for garbage collection or the use of a facility (e.g. tennis courts) is payment for a service.
A bag is not, has never been, and never will be considered “a service.” It’s a single-use good you’re using to convey another good.
Secondly: (2) Follow the money. If the goal is really helping the environment, the legislature would simply outlaw the use of plastic and paper shopping bags outright!
The real goal here is $$$, which is why there’s a general fund loop hole, and the so-called working class will be hit the hardest (there’s a loophole for those on public assistance, but that leaves a lot of “working poor” New Jerseyans paying for this environmental nonsense). Trenton will rake in millions with little-to-no appreciable benefit to anyone other than the Trenton machine.
Trenton is almost always up to no good. We know this! And that’s invariably true whenever they get cute with how they choose to name their acts of deceit.