File this in the folder marked “when it comes to life’s two certainties, there may be a million ways to die, but there are a million and one ways to tax you.”
Arlington County Board members later this week are expected to approve a new 5-cent tax on single-use plastic bags commonly found at supermarkets and other retail outlets. The measure, if approved, will go into effect in January.
Before what is likely to be a pro-forma vote in favor on Sept. 18, a public-comment period will be held.
Localities across Northern Virginia are in various stages of implementing the tax, authorized by the General Assembly in 2020. Funds raised by the measure are designed to go toward environmental-education-and-cleanup efforts.
Retailers would get to keep 2 cents per bag, with local governments getting the rest, through 2024. After that, the split would be four pennies for the locality, one for the retailer.
There are certain exemptions, including bags used for holding items such as meat and ice cream. While there is an argument made by some that paper bags offered by retailers have a larger overall detrimental environmental impact than paper bags, they will not be taxed.