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Plastic bags: Discourage, tax or ban them altogether?

A new bill, proposed Tuesday and set to be submitted today, will impose a ten cent fee on plastic (and paper) bags at New York City stores.

This is not, as it turns out, another sustainable initiative headed up by Mayor Bloomberg. He proposed a milder five-cent tax back in 2008, which was struck down by current mayoral candidate Christine Quinn. (Quinn told The Daily News she hasn't taken a position on the new proposal.) The difference now, aside from the increase in price, is that the proposed fee isn't a tax -- the money will go right back to the stores required to charge it. That could help it go down easier than last time. 

Still, it will be a progressive move for the city, especially when compared to the rest of the country. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, no U.S. state has a plastic bag ban or tax on the books. As of June, six states -- California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington -- are considering a full-on ban, while eight others -- Hawaii, Louisiana,  Maine, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington -- might start to charge.

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