Monday, February 6, 2012

Bag tax could save trees

Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee will wade into tinkering with Toronto’s five-cent bag fee next week.

Councillor Michelle Berardinetti wants the city to find a way to encourage businesses to donate the 5-cent fee towards the city’s emerald ash borer strategy.

The ash borer beetle is expected to hit the city’s tree canopy hard. The city has around 860,000 ash trees.

If approved by the executive committee, a report could be back in April about incentives for businesses to donate the profits from the 5-cent fee towards the ash borer strategy.

Berardinetti wants any incentives to include a tax receipt to match the voluntary contribution and visible public recognition from the city.

Next week’s debate will put the bag fee in front of Ford for the first time since he was elected.

Back in December, Ford vowed he’d move a motion at some point in 2012 to kill the bag fee.

“I’m going to put it forward. It is not about winning or losing, I never believed in this bag tax, I never supported it,” Ford said. “During the campaign, I never said I was going to do it, but now enough people have called me. I think it is time we reopened it. Let’s have a vote with the new group of councillors.”

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