Opinions tangled on plastic bag tax pitch in Virginia Beach

September 3, 2022 GMT

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A proposal to charge the city’s grocery shoppers 5 cents per plastic bag is tangling opinions in Virginia Beach.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that local officials are torn between wanting to protect the environment while not unduly burdening residents with another tax.

The struggle to reach a consensus came to light at a council meeting Aug. 23 when a consultant reported the outcome of recent meetings about reducing the use of plastic bags with retail industry representatives, environmental advocates and residents.

Mary Jo Burchard, of Concord Solutions, said all of them said that this was an urgent need to be addressed, but they did not agree on the approach.

The newspaper reports that the city paid the consulting company $11,515 for planning, preparation and facilitation of three 2-hour sessions, data analysis and reporting.

A state law allows Virginia Beach to charge a 5-cent fee for each disposable plastic bag at grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies.

Several Virginia localities have implemented the tax, including Fairfax County, Alexandria and Charlottesville.