Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ford targets bag tax

Mayor Rob Ford used his weekly radio talk show to push his plan to ease the bite of Toronto’s plastic bag fee. Mayor Ford said Sunday that the five-cent bag fee is unnecessary and he wants to give retailers the option of not imposing the charge on customers. “The bag tax has been around for too long,” Ford told Newstalk 1010 listeners. “It has served its purpose and let’s move on ... We’re trying to make it optional, that’s what were trying to do.” Ford’s executive committee is slated to deal with the issue on Monday. The levy was imposed in 2009 under then Mayor David Miller. It was intended to offset the environmental impact of plastic bag usage. City bureaucrats produced a report that said the use of plastic bags has dropped by 53% since the introduction of the tax. “People say it has reduced the amount of plastic bags in our garbage but I think you can see in other places like Mississauga and Vaughan that they can get along just fine without it,” said Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, who was a phone-in guest on the show. “It is such a ripoff, it’s ridiculous.” The fee generates approximately $5.4 million dollars annually for retailers. That money does not go into the city coffers. A city report released in April recommended that Toronto councillors try to encourage big retailers to donate a portion of their bag fee profits to a municipal tree canopy program.

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