Juneau voters reject bag tax

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JUNEAU, ALASKA (Oct. 5, 4:05 p.m. ET) — Juneau voters have overwhelmingly voted down a proposal that would have required large stores to place a 15-cent tax on single-use plastic carryout bags.

More than twice as many people voted to reject the tax, as the final unofficial tally in the Oct. 4 ballot proposal was 4,191 votes — or 69 percent of those who voted — against the tax, and 1,850 votes for the tax.

The 15-cent tax would have applied to the four retailers in the city that have $15 million or more in annual sales: Fred Meyer, Walmart, Safeway and Home Depot.

The citizens’ initiative was sponsored by local environmental group Turning the Tides, which is focused on promoting healthy oceans and reducing the use of single-use plastic products such as bags, bottles and containers.

Altogether, 29 U.S. communities, including 10 cities and four counties in California, have plastic bag bans. Two other communities — Montgomery County, Md., and Washington, D.C.  — have a 5-cent tax on plastic and paper carryout bags.