LOS ANGELES (March 23, 10:30 p.m. ET) — A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge today rejected a challenge to the county's ban on plastic bags and 10-cent tax on paper bags.
Plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly Co. LLC had filed the suit in October charging that the law violates State Proposition 26.
The proposition, passed by California voters last November, requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the state Legislature for new statewide fees and taxes, and a two-thirds vote in local communities for the adoption of local fees and taxes. It also broadens the definition of a tax to include many fees.
But the judge ruled March 23 that fee is not a tax because retailers keep the money collected.
Mark Daniels, vice president sustainability & environmental policy for Hilex Poly, said the case is "far from resolved.
"Typically an issue that sets an important tax precedent moves forward in the courts, and we expected this case to be heard in the appellate court. We welcome an open debate about bag bans and taxes, but in this case, the county overreached by imposing a charge that is illegal and a hidden tax, exactly what Proposition 26 intended to stop," Daniels said in an emailed statement.
"Proposition 26 was implemented to counter situations where taxes are labeled by the local government as ‘fees' in order to circumvent the electoral process. By imposing a bag tax on its residents without a public vote, LA County violated the constitution, and we are confident in our case as it moves to the appellate courts."
Los Angeles County passed the ban and tax law in 2010. The law applies to unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.