I attended the public hearing last week on the plastic bag tax (“fee”) and found the City Council was less than professional. Some council members lobbied for people to attend the hearing and support the tax (one supporter stated this at the meeting). Council let most supporters talk beyond their time allotment while those against were cut off at the time limit. Further, the document outlining the proposal clearly left out the key negative impacts of the bag tax such as:
The cost of lawsuits against the city and council members. Many cities that have imposed similar bag ordinances are facing several types of lawsuits.
The negative effect to public health. The link between recyclable grocery bags and E. coli is well-documented: After the San Francisco bag ban, the E. coli cases went up 50 percent.
The negative impact on the business climate. Businesses don’t like cities passing symbolic ordinances like this. The method for mitigating the financial impact on low-income families is lacking.
Clearly, most City Council members have let their own personal environmental agenda interfere with good management judgment. The benefits of this tax are largely symbolic, and the risks to the city and the public are real.
The City Council would like us to believe there is sufficient public support to approve this ordinance as a fee, which violates Colorado law and bypasses a public vote. Yet councilors know the voters wouldn’t approve a bag tax so they continue their facade that most of us are in favor of this ordinance.
I urge residents to start attending City Council meetings and give them feedback when they are out of line on issues like this. Please attend the July 16 City Council meeting and show them you are watching. Hopefully, this will help. If not, it might be time to start the recall.