D.C. Bag Tax Kills Jobs: Study

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D.C. Bag Tax Kills Jobs: Study


The bag tax that Washington residents have been paying for over a year will cause a significant decline in disposable income and lead to the loss of more than 100 jobs, a recently released study claimes.

Commissioned by Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a nonpartisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups opposed to all tax increases, and conducted by the Boston-based Beacon Hill Institute (BHI), the study further found that the tax would result in a loss of $108,340 in sales tax revenue and reduce investment in the district by $602,000.

“We already knew that bag taxes are an annoying levy that provide no environmental benefit; now we also know that they are an economically destructive job killer thanks to this new report,” noted ATR president Grover Norquist. “Unfortunately, it is also D.C.’s poorest communities that are hit hardest by the bag tax. Councilman Tommy Wells and other bag-tax proponents seem to be unfamiliar with the law of unintended consequences. In D.C.’s case, the bag tax has siphoned millions from the productive economy and thrown it into the black hole that is the D.C. government bureaucracy.”

Passed in 2009, the D.C. bag tax requires residents and visitors to pay five cents for every plastic and paper bag received at grocery, convenience and other retail stores. According to ATR, although proponents of the policy claim that bag taxes and bans improve the environment, there’s no evidence to indicate that bag taxes and bans provide any environmental benefit. Further, the coalition said that research suggests that the reusable bags championed by bag-tax proponents pose an ecological and health threat because of high levels of lead and bacteria.

“The bag tax is one of the more misguided taxes ever devised,” added Norquist. “In fact, Washingtonians actually have to buy more plastic bags because they no longer have a stockpile of shopping bags under their sink to reuse for lining trash cans, bringing lunch to work and cleaning up after Fido. A well-funded lobbying campaign for job-killing bag taxes and bans continues in state capitals and city halls across the country. It is my hope that this study on D.C.’s experience will serve as a cautionary tale for taxpayers all across the country.”