Mat-Su Assembly puts off plastic bag tax vote

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly has put off voting on a proposal to tax retailers for the plastic bags they give customers — at least for now.

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In its meeting Tuesday night, the Mat-Su Assembly avoided killing the tax proposal altogether, and instead set it aside until December.

The borough’s attorney said the assembly cannot legally ban the bags outright, but it can institute a tax, which is proposed at 10 cents per bag for retailers with annual gross sales of a million dollars.

Supporters say the tax would encourage people to use fewer plastic bags – something they say borough residents are already paying for in terms of filling up the landfill – and could provide funds for recycling programs.

But at least one person opposed to the tax testified last night that it amounted to meddling with the free market.