Three Bristol, Vt., high school students went to the state legislature this week proposing a tax on plastic bags. They ended up getting a lesson on politics. The Rutland Herald has the report on Tuesday's testimony in Montpelier by Torin Olivetti, 18, Cooper Thompson, 17, and Alex Horn, 17, before the state House Ways and Means Committee. According to the story, the Mount Abraham Union High School students suggested a 6 cent bag tax to encourage use more widespread use reuseable bags, and to raise new revenue for the state. Horn explained: "We use plastic bags for everything from the grocery store to the mall. But these bags aren't great for the environment, so we started thinking of ways to discourage people from using them and encourage them to switch to reuseable bags." Legislators had some interesting advice for the trio. Rep. David Zuckerman, P-Burlington, suggested they change the language in the bill from a tax to a fee. I love that advice. Voters hate taxes -- but fees are hunky-dory, right? Rep. David Sharpe, D-Bristol, suggested building a grassroots movement for their plan. Isn't that what they were trying to do? I don't think these kids are registered lobbyists. The story noted that representatives of the Vermont Grocers' Association and the Vermont Retailers Association opposed the bag tax, while supporting the idea of encouraging consumers to use reusable bags. Following Tuesday's popular Plastics Blog post on a St. Louis high school student's Earth Day newspaper column, I thought it would be interesting to note some other students' efforts in opposition to plastic bags. Remember next time, kids -- if you want the legislators to like your idea, don't call it a tax. Call it a fee.
More students against plastic bags
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