Bill proposes statewide tax on single-use plastic bags

SEATTLE — Washington state leaders are calling for a new way to limit the use of plastic bags.

A new bill that's being announced Wednesday morning would put a 2-cent tax on each single-use plastic bag used across the state.

Currently, there are 19 cities in Washington that have plastic bag bans in place, including Seattle, Tacoma and Edmonds.  Kenmore most recently approved a ban that takes affect on Jan. 1.

Whether those cities would be affected by the legislation and the details of which bags would be taxed are not yet known.

Lawmakers tried to pass a tax on plastic bags in the last legislative session, but it failed.  The new bill will be introduced in the 2019 session.

KIRO 7 looked at a Department of Revenue fiscal note which says that even with bag bans in place, Washington state consumers still use plastic bags at the same rate per capita as consumers across the rest of the country.

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The agency also says the tax would generate millions of dollars in revenue, nearly $14 million in fiscal 2019.

Details of the new legislation, called the Reusable Bag Bill, will be revealed during an event at the Seattle Aquarium at 10 a.m.

The bill is backed by Sen. Kevin Ranker, 40th District, Rep. Strom Peterson, 21st District, Kent City Councilmember Brenda Fincher and others.

A coalition of supporters include Environment Washington, Puget Sound Keeper Alliance, Seattle Aquarium, Surfrider Foundation and Zero Waste Washington.