Motion carried! Cuomo blocks Lander’s plastic-bag fee

In the bag: This is great news for Fifth Avenue Key Foods shopper Daniel Sanabria, who is dead-set against the 5-cent charge.
Brooklyn Paper
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Just in the nickel of time.

Gov. Cuomo overruled the city’s planned 5-cent plastic-bag fee on Tuesday — one day before it was scheduled to go into effect — signing a state bill that forbids his arch nemesis Mayor DeBlasio from implementing the charge until at least 2018.

In a lengthy statement, Cuomo bemoaned the environmental havoc the plastic sacks wreak on New York — including an anecdote about reeling them in while fishing in the Hudson — but nevertheless declared the city’s bill “deeply flawed” because the fees will enrich retailers instead of government.

“Most objectionable is that the law was drafted so that merchants keep the 5-cent fee as profit, instead of the money being used to solve the problem of plastic bags’ environmental impact — essentially amounting to a $100-million-per-year windfall to merchants,” he said. “The windfall profit to private entities is unjustifiable and unnecessary.”

The news is a particular blow to Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), who had championed the fee for years as a means of curtailing the 1,700 plastic bags collected by the sanitation department per week, and eventually saw it score a narrow 28–20 victory in City Hall last year.

“We fought plastic bags, and for now, plastic bags won,” said Lander in a joint statement with Manhattan Councilwoman Margaret Chin. “They are stubborn and toxic forms of solid waste. They never biodegrade, so they pollute our trees, oceans, and landfills forever. And they are hard to dislodge from the state legislature, too.”

Lander says he stands by a fee at the register as the right way to wean New Yorkers off their plastic-bag habits and onto reusable totes, although many of his Albany counterparts — including state Sen. Simcha Felder (D–Kensington), who first introduced the moratorium ultimately endorsed by Cuomo this week — argued that it is a regressive tax that will disproportionately fall on low-income shoppers.

Cuomo says he plans on establishing a task force to create a statewide plan to solve “the plastic bag problem,” which is supposed to report back by the end of the year.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Brooklyn Paper comment system needs to upgrade because I really need the eye roll emoji in articles dealing with Cuomo.
Feb. 15, 2017, 8:39 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
solve “the plastic bag problem,”


Translation: How can I get that money for the state to waste?!
Feb. 15, 2017, 9:08 am
Barry from Flatbush says:
People will trade their children's future for the smallest convenience.
Feb. 15, 2017, 9:12 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
A whole night and now a day of Bag Tax Bullhorn Brad Lander whining about plastic bags. He should look no farther than his office next to Neergaard's. Tree pits full of trash.
Feb. 15, 2017, 12:10 pm
Betty from Williamsburg says:
Yes, plastic bags do hurt the we need a new tax to get folks to comply? Instead of charging for not having a bag with you...reverse it and give shoppers with bags a reward of a .05 discount on their purchase. Stores can easily make this up in the volume they save by not using as many bags. Maybe a positive spin on this initiative will make helping the environment more palatable. Right now, add'l costs are not well received...and rightly so!
Feb. 15, 2017, 12:49 pm
David says:
God Bless anyone who has such a charmed life that a plastic bag fee is such a massive issue for them
Feb. 15, 2017, 1:53 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
So nice to see the gentrified tree-huggers not give a crap about the cost of this fee (it's NOT a tax - taxes go to the state, this is a fee that rewards the stores with up to 5x the actual cost of the bags) to lower income families. For hipsters who shop for each day's meal individually, carrying a tote bag is no strain. For a family shopping once a week or once every two weeks, it is easy to add as $1 or $2 a dollar a week, and some people honestly can't afford that on top of their food bills. Betty from Wmsbrg is right. There are better, more positive ways to gain the same effect.
Feb. 15, 2017, 2:36 pm
NN from Boerum Hill says:
I don't understand why Cuomo vetoed this. It's a good idea that has worked well in other cities.
Feb. 16, 2017, 9:19 am
Tyler from pps says:
Sean.... it's almost like disposable bags have existed since the beginning of time and reusable bags weren't the norm... Oh wait! Because that isn't true! The residents including the poor of this city used to do just fine with reusable bags.... for, say, a century.

By the way, what family is using 40 bags per week?!?!?!?

And, why can't they bring those bags to the store with them?
Feb. 16, 2017, 10:01 am
Harry from Windsor Park says:
No stupid Lander and Chin: Plastic didn't win, THE PEOPLE WON! The Governor heard the overwhelming majority of the people of this city who said No to Councilpersons Lander, Chin, Williams, Levine, Assemblyman Robert Carroll and their fascist mentally of dictating that the people must pay a nickel for our shopping bags.
And by the way Tyler, I shop for my family of four kids, the wife and in-laws and I use much more than 40 bags each week, have tried Lander's meathead idea of reusable cloth bags and just watch them rip apart week after week as they can't hold 2 liter bottles of Coke well nor juice or milk containers, they aren't practical for a family. But then again, Lander and his socialist buddies probably don't carry their groceries home as in Park Slope, everyone get their goods delivered in boxes.
Feb. 16, 2017, 11:37 am
Tyler from pps says:
"I use much more than 40 bags each week"

No, you don't.

And, Harry. Why don't you bring those bags back to the store with you? And is your ENTIRE shopping strip just for 2 liter bottles of Coke and milk?

(Also, your little tale about your disintegrating reusable bags is pretty unbelievable... but I guess some people just have to lie to justify their laziness.)
Feb. 16, 2017, 12:10 pm
Joe from Brooklyn says:
Wow, some of you people eat way too much.

40 bags a week! FFS
Feb. 16, 2017, 6:01 pm
Bill from Brooklyn says:
I use the bags for trash. Saves me from buying trash bags from the store. I use them to pick up trash in my neighborhood - now there's a problem Lander could focus on - litter/garbage/rats/pervasive filth in Brookln. If taxing bags is the best idea Lander has to offer for improving the city, perhaps we need a new councilman.
Feb. 17, 2017, 8:28 am
Tyler from pps says:
Bill -- A lot of the pervasive filth is caused by the self-involved idiots who litter and feel they *need* unlimited single-use bags, and shedding trash as they walk down the sidewalk because, well, why not?

I also use bags for trash. And even though I use reusable bags for groceries, I always accumulate a few plastic ones along the way. That won't change... and I'll have plenty for garbage (and my box of store bought garbage bags will probably last about 4 years)
Feb. 17, 2017, 3:48 pm
Bill from Brooklyn says:
Tyler - don't blame the bag. Blame the idiots who litter. Using your logic and Lander's, we should be forced to drink from S'wells while wiping our mouths on a sleeve.

Trash is trash. Nothing hip or artistic about it.
Feb. 17, 2017, 5:45 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
If plastic bags are so harmful to the environment, why not ban them? Instead, a bunch of thieves concoct a scheme to steal money from those that can't afford it, and include biodegradable paper bags in their attempted theft. Luckily, the head thief in charge in Albany has to face the voters soon enough, and wisely put the kibosh on this scam.
Feb. 17, 2017, 10:42 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Seems to be many "life coaches" on this site... tell you how to live.
Feb. 18, 2017, 11:20 pm

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