Friday, August 21, 2009

Just Three Days After Seattle Rejects A Bag Tax, Fairbanks-North Star Borough Assemblywoman Nadine Winters Proposes...A Bag Tax. WTF, Over?

Update September 12th: On September 10th, the Fairbanks Borough Assembly passed the bag tax described in this post, although they tried to soften the impact by voting to scrub the IM vehicle emission program. Updated post HERE.

Looks like Fairbanks residents have caught themselves another live one. Just three days after Seattle voters rejected a proposed 20 cents per unit bag tax, Fairbanks North Star Borough Asemblywoman Nadine Winters is proposing...the envelope, please...yep, you guessed it...a bag tax. Read the sordid details in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Nadine Winters, who's also listed as a member of the ACLU, wants to charge big chain stores such as Fred Meyer and Wal-Mart five cents for each disposable plastic bag given to customers. The money would be used to fund recycling programs, such as one proposed by lame-duck Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker and another Borough Assembly member, Mike Musick, who occupies Seat G. Smaller stores could volunteer to adopt the five-cent fee, a policy Winters said would cut trash at the landfill and encourage residents to shop with reusable bags.

Winters envisions that her bag tax, in concert with the joint plan by Whitaker and Musick to pay individuals or groups who, after clearing their respective plans with a panel, find a way to recycle mixed paper, plastics, glass or other materials before they reach the landfill’s scale house, would revive a dormant borough recycling commission to oversee recycling in a town with fewer options than many communities of its size across the country.

Of course, there's bureaucracy associated with Winters' proposal. Under Winters’ plan, companies would be required to submit reports to the borough to show they’re charging for throw-away plastic bags. They’d also be required to list disposable plastic bags as a separate line item on receipts. What she doesn't say is that the cost would be PASSED ON TO CONSUMERS, since neither Fred Meyer not Wal-Mart are non-profit charities. Winters is just another greenie who wants to jack up the cost of living for all of us.

She's also a greenie with an incredibly obtuse sense of timing, and who obviously doesn't read newspapers or use the Internet. Had she done either, she would know that just three days ago, on August 18th, Seattle voters rejected a bag tax proposal by nearly 60 percent against. Perhaps Ms. Winters would care to explain why Fairbanks voters would accept a bag tax when latte-swilling Seattle greenies rejected a bag tax. Fairbanks residents are NOT latte-swilling greenies.

The Borough Assembly has scheduled public hearings on the plans for Thursday September 10th. The formal agenda has not yet been published. Instructions for giving testimony are published HERE.

Fairbanks residents have reacted with overwhelmingly incredulity so far. Of the 65 comments posted to the News-Miner story, nearly all reject the idea, and many are prepared to reject Winters at the ballot box on October 6th. Yes, Nadine Winters, who currently occupies Seat F on the Assembly, is opposed by Joshua Lott, who can be reached at Lott's campaign website is available HERE, and has a Facebook page HERE.

It's also of interest to note that Mike Musick has an opponent in the upcoming election as well. Musick is opposed by Philip Newton. While Newton doesn't yet have a campaign website, some records of his public participation exist HERE and HERE (page 7).

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