Pennsylvania Lawmaker Wants To Tax Plastic Bags

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A state lawmaker wants to tax plastic bags.

Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach’s, D-Montgomery/Delaware, proposed legislation SB 590 that would place a 2-cent tax on plastic bags provided to consumers by retailers.

If passed, the tax will likely drive Pennsylvania consumers to purchase cheap, fabric-like reusable bags. But for some shoppers plastic is a greener choice for them.

“We use for our pets to clean up after our pets, so we actually are recycling them and giving a second use after we take them home from the store,” Lorie Berrick, from Green Tree, said.

Still, state lawmakers believe this bag tax will have a positive impact on the environment. But will it give Pennsylvanians an incentive to make the more environmentally-conscious choice?

“No, They’re gonna deal with it same way the dealt with the drink tax,” Liam Macik, of Dormont, said. “People are gonna use the plastic bags its just the way that’s gonna happen.”

State Sen. Jim Ferlo is also supporting this bill, but he has not yet returned KDKA-TV’s calls. This bill has now been referred to the finance committee. So far, no hearings have been set.


One Comment

  1. Terik Ororke says:

    I think that it is time that we take away the great pension plan of state lawmakers and all the other stuff they get for free. I guessw we can carry wet items like milk in paper sacks? Why don’t they just reduce the state spending instead of finding new taxes for the citizens? this guy needs to be thrown out–is he a Democrat?

    1. Roxanne says:

      great idea!!!!

      1. judy says:

        stupid idea

    2. baboo says:

      Leach is a enviromental-nazi Democrat…he won’t be happy until we’re all living in wigwams and eating soy hot dogs.

    3. Tammie says:

      Of course he’s a Democrat!!!

  2. Shockly says:

    Unbelievable, just finish it and tax the air.

    1. Roxanne says:

      They just might do that next to fund all there pension!!!!

      1. Hoss says:

        “Their” not “there.” Please. Sheesh!

    2. Air Tax says:

      The air is taxed,look at your inspection sticker

  3. Joan says:

    This is unbelievable! Time to move out of PA! Taxed to Death! And yes, it has to be a Democrat!

    1. MAKE A VOICE says:


  4. Ryan says:

    And they want us to use reuseable bags that contain lead and bacteria! Nice job, genius! Why did this dope get elected?

  5. UNREAL! says:

    ok so let’s tax the bags and see how many people put an effort into recycling them when we are paying for them!!! Those big recycling bins for bags will be a waste of money. If I’m gonna pay for the bags I’m certainly not going to just give them back! How about we take away the Government cars and all the other luxury items you damn politicians get to use on our tax money.

  6. Jamie says:

    I think this is a great idea! The state really does need to step up it’s recycling programs. I used to live in PA, but now reside in Australia. Most stores here do it willingly (they charge 10 cents extra per plastic bag) and it works! Everyone uses fabric bags! Easy alternative for the people who are against paying the tax.

  7. John says:

    They should do away with plastic bags altogether. Humans are just too lazy and irresponsible to use them properly. I’m tired of seeing plastic garbage blowing all over town and getting stuck in the bushes and trees. It’s disgusting. That’s partially the purpose of this tax. To try and persuade people to switch to an alternative. If everyone is so concerned about the tax, they could easily go pickup bags off the streets and out of the bushes so they would have a free supply for years to come.

  8. Jayme says:

    Well, if I’m being taxed for my grocery bag am I going to get a returned fee when I drop them off at the recycle bin? This is just another way for the government to squeeze out a penny or two from the citizens at a time. What I’d be curious to see is if the Food stamp program will be allotting an allowance for bags on the magic green card for the bags if this were to pass. I’d rather have plastic over a bag that holds bacterial that can kill me. I suppose everyone could just stock up on Save a lot plastic bags and bring their own… Then what? A general bagging tax at the store? Funny, Republicans always get the blame for taxes, glad to see it’s a democrat…

    1. says:

      “Republicans always get the blame for taxes, glad to see it’s a democrat…” are you nuts?

  9. Kem says:

    Out of all the problems facing Pennsylvania–a bloated and incompetent state legislature, Marcellus shale pollution, an antiquated state monopoly over alcohol, notoriously awful roads, subpar public transit, etc.–our representatives are most concerned about PLASTIC BAGS? Are you kidding me? THIS is what our tax dollars are paying for? Maybe if our representatives stopped wasting so much time and money over non-issues, we wouldn’t need to create ridiculous new taxes to cover the giant deficit in the budget.

  10. Airdoc says:

    With the price of food rising, of course a democrat wants to raise taxes. They just didn’t learn anything in November. Let’s all use the tiny fabric bags at $5 or $6 each that you would need 10 of them to hold groceries from a medium size trip to the store. And some of these bags have been found to have lead in them. GO GREEN – LEAD IN OUR GROCERY BAGS AND MERCURY IN OUR LIGHTBULBS !!

  11. Joey Bagadonuts says:

    Exactly Kem, Period.

  12. Shawn says:

    Sound like a great idea to me we as a nation need to be more responsible and save our earth plasic bags destroy fillout landfields get rid of plasic bags all together!

    1. Ann says:

      Guess we need to get rid of all drink bottles. No more Pepsi/Coke product bottles. No more milk in gallon jugs. No more orange juice. Oh can’t have Rubbermaid containers. No more toothbrushes. No more…really? Everything is made from plastic. Tasting bags is certainly not going to deter people from using them. But. That is the #1 problem the state is facing.

  13. dave says:

    With the quality of the bags, there is no way that I will pay for them. Most of the time they have holes in them or they rip with something heavy like a gallon of milk. Plus I do reuse the decent bags when I walk my dog.

  14. Daniel says:

    Not to mention here in Pittsburgh we use the blue ones to put our recycling items in! Duh!!!! Please vote this guy out the next time he runs.

    1. Rich says:

      I try to recycyle as much as I can. However if I must pay for a blue bag to do so, I will just put everything in the regular pick up.. And that can add even more to the landfill.

  15. Daniel says:

    Here is a link to send Senator Leach a comment…Do not use the search for your representative at the top of the page….just fill out everything below it. And by the way this guy sure has an appropriate last name does he not?

  16. What the Heck says:

    Can you believe that the State has so many problems that the one they pick to work on is this. i think it is time we start to vote these people out. Next thing they will be taxing is walking on the street…. What jerks…..

  17. Alan Smythe says:

    Two cents for a plastic bag? This is almost a slight inconvenience to my daily life! This is tyranny and oppression at its worst! Let the revolution begin!

    Seriously people, don’t worry. If people are THAT opposed to paying an infinitesimal fee for something they’ve gotten for free for fifty years then the bill won’t pass.

  18. Pitt grad says:

    Instead of charging extra, why don’t they give rebates to people who reuse the plastic bags? In high school I worked at a grocery store and we offered 3 cents off your grocery order per bag if someone reused plastic and 5 cents per bag if they reused paper. It was a popular option!

    Personally, I have reusable bags and try to use them, but if I’m running to the store straight from work I don’t always have my totes with me.

  19. Janet says:

    I want to use cloth bags all the time but its hard to remember to bring them. I think we just need to get in the habit of keeping a few in our car but we won’t unless it costs us something to use the plastic bags. I bring my own bags when I shop at Aldi and its not that hard to do. I feel the same way about plastic water bottles and other plastic containers that are meant to be used one time. Its all just too much waste! Now if stores gave us credit for using our own bags, like a nickel a bag, people would soon get used to it.

  20. Kimberly says:

    You know, not everyone has a few extra pennies to rub together. Gas, food and everything in between is going up. Are they trying to put more people on Welfare? Both my husband and myself work and we do have only one child, but with all the raising taxs for this or that, we are still still struggling to get by. I know they look at it as “it’s only 2 cent” , but it adds up people. Besides I have found many uses for reusing thoose bags. such as craft ideas, bath room garbage bags, cleaning animal messes, and reusing them to take a packed lunch to work. WE ARE GOING GREEN JERK OFFS!!!~!!! GIVE US A BREAK ON THE UNNESSASARY TAXES!!!

  21. r s q says:

    and they will tax you to take a pee do you know there kids are exempt from paying back student loans true

  22. ss says:

    I oppose this tax. I am fed up with all the taxes I pay in Pennsylvania. I agree with a previous speaker let’s cut out the perks for our elected officials. I think they get paid too much for lousy job performance. Why should they get raises? I haven’t received a raise in two years because my employer is strapped. I say let’s pay our elected officials less, cut their perks, and that should help our financial strain.

  23. Janet says:

    I agree the taxes are troublesome but so far we are blessed to have no sales tax on food and clothing. I just returned from a city where the sale tax is over 9%!
    If you have kids they will be the ones to pay for the problems caused by the over-use of plastics. I once watched a plastic bag stuck on a tree for years. It doesn’t break down! If you can re-use or recycle the bags its all good but eventually most of the plastics we use will find their way to a nearby landfill.

  24. christine says:

    This is ridiculous.please lets take away all the perks that the state and gov.officials cars,free trips that are not business related,free housing,and many many more.they are taking advantage of the taxpayers and that’s rep.and dems.

  25. Timm Martin says:

    Just another politician (usually a Democrat) who has nothing better to do than sit around thinking of ways to get our money to feed their addiction to our money. On a side note: I have heard that these cloth bags could harbor deadly germs from leaking meat packages and other food related substances. Of course we could wash them out after every use thus using more resources (hot water , electricity, etc.) than we have to. It amazes me that smart people think things such as electric cars are the answer. How naive can they be not to realize that hundreds of power plants would have to be built to generate the electricity for these vehicles. These same people are the ones who want windmills all over the country but would sue to stop a communications tower from being built because it would destroy the beauty of the environment. Just take a ride through southern Pennsylvania and look at all the windmills sticking up on the sides of hills and mountains which used to have beautiful views without any man-made object in sight. In my opinion these are just large pieces of litter.

  26. CJ says:

    Everyone should sent there plastic bags to Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach’s. Lets see what senator Leach do with them.

  27. bettygerbil says:

    i think this sucks and clothing is going up oil gas food are at high prices and most grocery stores charge for bags does this mean they will raise there prices to how much more can we go we have given now take from the greedy higher ups that my bass has had to pay for

  28. John says:

    Instead of focusing on this nonsense, why doesn’t he focus on eliminating state reps pensions and benifits and reform salaries? This guy is a real jackas!

  29. Janet says:

    You could use a specific bag for meat and leaky substances or save a plastic bag for that. I personally don’t think its hard to wash a bag, except that many of the bags sold are not washable. We do need to think things through when its time to better the environment for the greater good. If we all became more responsible for our own non-consumable products the government would not have to intrude. Much of the blame falls on our own wasteful habits. Lets be honest!

  30. S Myers says:

    Please keep in mind this was proposed by a Delaware County Democrat. If anyone is more left-leaning that the representatives from Pittsburgh, it’s the Philly Dems.

    For all of you who want to see legislative pay, bennies and perks reduced, kudos to you. I would also like to see the size and scope of the legislature reduced. We have no need, in a Commonwealth losing population steadily, for more than 200 representatives in the state house. Drop it to 50 and reduce the size of the state Senate to 67 – one for each county. With the attendant reduction in saralries, support staff, etc., the savings would be significant.

    Taxing bags is not the answer – reducing the size of government is and we are the only ones who can do it.

  31. Ray Allen says:

    I’ve known Jim Ferlo for many years; reading today’s grassrootspa, what about enacting a tax on House & Senate resolutions? Seriously, this is a thought that may need to be fine tuned, but is worthy of consideration in these very trying times.

    1. Mon River Towing says:

      ^ awesome! Wish it wasnt a pipe dream.

  32. JAUN says:


    1. MaryMo says:

      stop screaming!

  33. Janet says:

    For those of you who would rather spend their energy finding a solution than finding something to complain about, you can make a grocery bag out of your old t-shirt or sweater. There are lots of patterns available on line. This would be a good kid’s project to help them think about recycling in a creative way.

    1. baboo says:

      how about we use rickshaws to bring our groceries home. It’s great exercise and you wont be killing the owls with all that nasty exhaust from your car.

      Better yet….we can have union paid state employees to pull the rickshaw for us!!!!! everybody wins…you save and owl AND create a well paying job!!!

      UTOPIA AT LAST!!!!!

    2. Janet says:

      I decided to try the t-shirt bag myself, referring to a pattern from Martha Stewart that I found online. Oh, it works but it looks more like something you would put your laundry in, not your groceries. Certainly there are better ways to recycle a t-shirt. I still think plastic bags and bottles are an inevitable force to be reckoned with.

  34. old409 says:

    Remember when the Dems wanted to do away with paper bags to save the trees, thus the move to plastic bags. Now the Dems want to do away with plastic bags. This just goes to show the Dems have no idea what they want or how anything works in the real world.

    Maybe a good use for plastic bags would be for every Dem to put one over their head real tight like. Just to give them a glimpse of how things work on the other side.

    1. MaryMo says:

      Yeah, because it’s just the Dems, only the Dems…dude, whatever. Both sides come up with/favor these ideas. Stop labeling everything one side or another, that just not only makes your side look ugly, but doesn’t contribute to this country becoming any better.

      1. old409 says:

        Take a look back through time and see where these loony ideas all come from. It ain’t the Repubs. Dems wanted to save the trees, so we went to plastic. Now the Dems don’t like plastic.

        The best use for plastic bags would be to put them over the nearest Dems head.

  35. MaryMo says:

    While I am sick of seeing plastic bags littering everywhere, the reusable bags aren’t better unless they are washable. Think of the meat you would put in there, if it leaked that would be all over other groceries going in after. They aren’t that sanitary. Plus, I reuse the plastic bags when I clean out the litter box, and I see people walking dogs carrying them around. Would be nice if Walmart employees would learn how to bag. I recently walked out of there with 4 items in 3 BAGS. I also use Giant Eagle’s bag recycling bin when I have more than I need in the house.

    Kind of an iffy issue.

    1. Harry says:

      Pick you battles. You’re lucky if a wal-mart cashier can count to 3.

  36. nick says:

    Daylin Leach is a half-baked frog-licking psycho……I’ll save and re-use my plastic bags before I bow to this green nonsense.

    Mind your own business Leach.

  37. Frank says:

    Do these idiots have nothing else to do, the state is going broke and they are worried about plastic bags.

  38. Greta says:

    I started using iron bags six months ago and I’m so glad I did. I was able to quit my gym and now wear a size 6. Recently I was able to lift a car!

  39. satire247 says:

    I propose a tax on using the word tax. Every time someone says the word , 2 cents goes to Harrisburg. If you write the word down, it’s a nickel each time.
    See writing this already cost me a dime. This idea has merit.

  40. mark says:

    whats stopping me from just putting all my items right back into the shopping cart without bags?

  41. Larry says:

    How about we cut all elected officials salary in half give them no pension and medical benefits equal to the people they represent after all its public service right OR IS IT

  42. mary says:

    He is only doing what the Republicans are doing raking the working person over the coals AGAIN, AGAIN,AGAIN and AGAIN.

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