The Council is debating a bill that would require most stores throughout the city to charge shoppers 10 cents for each bag — paper or plastic — they used at checkout. Shoppers who bring their own tote bags will not be charged a fee.
The bag fee — it is not a tax because the payment goes to the businesses rather than the government — would apply to a variety of stores:
Restaurants, liquor stores, and emergency food providers are exempt from the fee.
The fee would not include small “carryout bags” used exclusively for holding these goods:
• Non-prepackaged food items
• Prescription drugs
Individuals or families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children would be exempt from the fee when purchasing food with their benefit cards.