By now, you should have received your mail-in election ballot. We haven’t made up our mind yet who to vote for in most of the races, including mayor (although we’re leaning towards Mike McGinn, but that’s mostly because he seems to be the most “bike friendly” of the lot, and that’s a thin reason to cast a ballot).
We do, however, have a strong opinion on the Ref 1, the Grocery Bag Tax. We’re for it.
We would think we’re preaching to the choir in Wallingford, which tends to be a pretty progressive neighborhood, but in the literature the “No on 1″ folks send us, they list a number of Wallingford residents who make up their “Coalition” (e.g., Mac Hewson, Computer Drafter and Mike Maffei, Self-Employed). They also list a number of residents of “Greenlake” (sic) and “Freemont” (sic), for which we fully expect the folks over at My Green Lake (two words, not one) to mock them.
Really, though, we feel sorry for the folks who have to put together the flier. They’ve got a job to do (albeit one paid for by 7-11 and the Korean American Grocers Association), and it’s a tough one: how do you attack what is mostly just a good idea? We can just seem them sitting around scratching their heads and spitballing ideas: “any chance the plastic bag tax blinds puppies?” “Maybe plastic bags can be used to make biodiesel?”
Here’s what they came up with:
“Hurts those who can least afford it: No exemptions for low-income families or seniors who spend most of their money on grocery items”
Yah, but if the $.20 is important to someone, all they have to do is re-use a bag and presto, they don’t have to pay the tax. The only people who have to pay the tax are those who don’t care enough to re-use a bag. The bottling industry tried to make similar arguments to defeat can and bottle deposits. In practice, where those were enacted, it provided jobs for low-income people who would pull recyclables from public garbage for the refund.
“But big box stores like Walmart and Target may get exempted from the bag tax”
So? They shouldn’t be. But if you thought the bag tax was a bad idea, wouldn’t that be a good thing? Make up your mind.
“Nine different kinds of paper and plastic bags like newspaper, dry cleaning and produce bags are totally exempt”
Again, shouldn’t those guys be arguing that that’s a good thing? If produce bags weren’t exempt, they’d be screaming “even produce bags aren’t exempt!”
And so on. It’s ridiculous. We have an opportunity here to create a strong economic incentive to act in an ecologically friendly way. To those people who will really feel the pinch of the $.20 / bag, there’s an easy way out: re-usable bags. To those people who can’t be bothered with re-usable bags, there’s an easy way out: pay $.20 to Seattle’s recycling program.
If readers disagree, we’ll be interested to read about it in the comments section. And remember, you have until Aug 18th to mail in your ballot.