Although I am opposed to the idea of taxing plastic bags, I recently signed a petition to put the issue on the ballot. Let the people decide. If the ballot measure is approved, sales of doggie bags and small trash can liners would improve and an opportunity to expand a business or create one to retail plastic shopping bags for a nickel apiece becomes attractive. The downside would be the additional ambulance calls to cart away folks who would be compelled to make three trips up and down the stairs rather than just one to bring in their purchases. If, on the other hand, the ballot measure fails, well, fine. Perhaps the bag people will stop pestering us.
To exercise the Assembly’s option of negating the ballot measure by adopting an ordinance with similar effect as suggested by City Manager Rod Swope is ill-advised. With ballot access assured, there is no political upside for the Assembly to mandate a tax that many or perhaps most oppose. If it goes to ballot, at least folks will feel that they’ve had their say and this wasn’t imposed on them from above.