The GOP-controlled State Senate moved Tuesday to block the city from imposing a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper shopping bags.
Senators voted 42-18 in favor of a measure sponsored by Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) that prohibits the city from charging taxes or fees on any carry-out merchandise bags. The measure now heads to the Democrat-controlled Assembly, where it faces an uncertain fate.
“Mayor de Blasio’s bag tax would place an undue financial burden on low- and middle-income New Yorkers who already struggle to pay their bills,” Felder said.
Felder’s bill passed despite opposition from some Democratic senators, who argued the Senate should not supersede the wishes of the City Council.
“This is the nullification of the wishes of a legislative body representing 8.5 million people,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman, (D-Manhattan), who called the Senate move “breathtakingly arrogant.”
The fee on disposable bags, passed by the City Council last year, is set to go into effect Feb. 15.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said Assembly members have concerns with the “language” of the Council’s bag bill but are trying to work out a compromise with city lawmakers.
“We continue to discuss with the city on how to resolve it but we just haven’t come to that point,” Heastie said.
Among the concerns, Heastie said, was language that said stores can charge “at least” a nickel for bags.