Let me try to do this again here, folks, while maintaining my composure. We’re talking about San Francisco charging 17 cents for each grocery bag — and, by the way, it’s not just plastic. It was originally designed to stop the pollution caused by plastic bags, and somebody says, “Well, we’ll go to paper.” They said, “No, we’re going to charge 17 cents for paper bags.” Somebody said, “Why?” and they said, “Well, to be fair.” Honestly. Don’t want to “discriminate” against just plastic, so they’re going to be fair: 17 cents a bag.
“Supermarkets, however, under the proposal could keep up to half of the 17-cents per bag they generate, if they set up city-approved programs such as providing reusable bags to low-income shoppers who use food stamps or setting up in-store bag recycling centers. The rest of the fees would go to the city treasurer. The San Francisco department of the environment came up with the figure of 17 cents by dividing its estimate of what it costs the city and its garbage collection company each year to deal with used grocery bags, divide that, that’s eight and a half million dollars, by the estimated number of plastic and paper bags distributed in San Francisco’s supermarkets each year, which is 50 million.”
Now, it’s an interesting number here. Costs them eight and a half million dollars, 50 million bags. Have you noticed that this? It’s the San Francisco Commission on the Environment that is going to adopt this resolution. Now, as I told you yesterday, “If you want to find out why some proposal which on the surface seems idiotic is being supported: Follow the money.” In this case, 17 cents is going to save $8-1/2 million in trash collection fees, they think, and the money goes to the city treasurer. What you have here, folks, is a good old-fashioned tax increase, but not even liberals in San Francisco have the ability to be honest with the people there. So what they’ve done is garnered support by telling them it’s an environmental issue, and, of course, big libs and the environmental wackos, these people, they’re one and the same.
So if you tell the environmental wacko population of San Francisco, “Yeah, we’re going to raise the fee on bags. We’re going to charge a fee, 17 cents to save the environment,” Oh, well, that’s great. We’ll support that! But if you said, “Nope, we want to save eight and a half million dollars. We want the money to go to the city treasury and so forth,” if you don’t put the environmental component in there this thing wouldn’t have probably a ghost of a chance. So once again it’s libs lying to libs in order to get a tax increase done. Pure and simple. It’s a tax increase disguised as an environmental improvement program. “The environmental department has done no research to determine whether 17 cents is enough or too much or not enough to change the average San Franciscan’s bag behavior.” They just arbitrarily came up with this number by doing this division of eight and a half million dollars by 50 million bags equals 17 cents a bag so that’s what we’re gonna be charging.
What if it’s not going to be enough? Well, you know it’s not going to be enough because the government is in charge! So it won’t be enough. The government will come back and say, “The environment’s still too dirty after doing this we need to charge even more.” This is not going to affect people’s behavior what else we going to do if every supermarket charges every customer 17 cents a bag where else you gonna go? This is such poppycock.
And then “the San Francisco environment department notes that six nations — Australia, Bangladesh, Italy, South Africa, Taiwan and Ireland — levy taxes or have enacted bans on plastic shopping bags. [It says that] In Ireland plastic bag usage dropped 90% in the first year after that nation imposed a fee of 15 cents per bag.” What they don’t tell you is they didn’t tax paper bags! So of course you got a paper bag choice or a plastic bag choice, that cost you 17 cents or 15 cents, what are you going to do? You’re going to use the paper. Of course it’s going to go down 90%. “Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, has expressed concerns the bag fee could be regressive, hitting lower income consumers hardest.”
Oh, really? So the poor will be hardest hit by this. What does that matter? This is to clean up the environment. We can’t have any concerns for the poor when it comes to cleaning up the environment. (interruption) I know the stores chose plastic. (interruption) Well, they didn’t choose them, they were forced to go to plastic because the tree lovers got mad at all the trees being cut down to make paper bags. And so that was an environmental consideration. Environmentalists said, “We have to save the trees so we’re going to go to plastic.” I am surprised they didn’t go after plastic because it’s a derivative of oil. They’ll come up with that next once they figure this out.