Chicago 2017 Budget passes- adding a new “Check out Bag Tax”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as part of his 2017 budget introduced on Oct. 11, proposed adding a 7-cent tax on plastic and paper bags used in the city. In a recent Chicago Daily Herald article, Molly Poppe, Office of Budget and Management, was quoted saying: “Ultimately, the goal of the (bag) tax is to change behavior and change how people utilize disposable bags.” The checkout tax replaces Chicago’s 1-year-old plastic bag ordinance, which carried fines for stores that did not provide reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic bags. That ordinance, which had yet to fully roll out, proved less effective than hoped, per Poppe.

On November 16, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget was approved by the city council. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017 a checkout tax of 7 cents per bag will be added at all Chicago retailers – 5 cents of which will go to the city and retailers retain 2 cents. It is expected to generate more that $10 million dollars in revenue for the city. The tax does not apply to restaurants and families in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, often called food stamps

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