Bag tax about $, not farmers

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

A recent edition of The Smithfield Times (“Plastic bag tax ahead for IW?” Feb. 10) discussed Isle of Wight enacting a 5-cent plastic bag tax in accordance with a new state law passed in 2020. This is another example of the county enacting taxes/fees under the mantra of protecting the environment when in reality these have more to do with revenue.

If the Board of Supervisors is serious about protecting the environment and benefitting the cotton farmers, it will ban the use of plastic bags. There are approximately eight states and more than 450 counties/cities in the country that prohibit the use of plastic bags. An added benefit of banning the plastic bags will be a reduction of them ending up in the county’s solid waste collection stations, reducing the tipping costs.

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Have the supervisors, instead of relying on the staff, read State Code Section 15.2-938.1 that appears to exempt plastic bags tax based on what is placed in them. How will the merchants deal with these exemptions particularly when the bags come to the grocer’s cashiers having to make a decision of what bag to tax?

The county will give the merchants an incentive to keep 1-2 pennies for not fighting plastic bag tax while the commissioner of revenue will pocket the balance. Once they get the money, they are not accountable as to how it is spent.

This year 2021 will bring a variety of new taxes to the county citizens and each one of them is taking a bit of our liberties away.


Jose Hernandez