Mat-Su Assembly puts off plastic bag tax vote

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly has put off voting on a proposal to tax retailers for the plastic bags they give customers — at least for now.

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In its meeting Tuesday night, the Mat-Su Assembly avoided killing the tax proposal altogether, and instead set it aside until December.

The borough’s attorney said the assembly cannot legally ban the bags outright, but it can institute a tax, which is proposed at 10 cents per bag for retailers with annual gross sales of a million dollars.

Supporters say the tax would encourage people to use fewer plastic bags – something they say borough residents are already paying for in terms of filling up the landfill – and could provide funds for recycling programs.

But at least one person opposed to the tax testified last night that it amounted to meddling with the free market.

Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts.

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