Plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly Co. LLC has appealed the Los Angeles Superior Court ruling that the 10-cent fee on paper bags enacted by Los Angeles County in July is legal and not a tax that requires approval by the voters.
Hilex Poly and the other plaintiffs in the case are attempting to overturn the measure, since it also includes a ban on plastic bags.
Los Angeles County and other jurisdictions with similar laws argue that mandatory fees on plastic or paper bags are not taxes because retailers — not the government — keep the monies collected.
California Proposition 26, passed in 2010, requires that local taxes — which were defined as “any levy, charge or exaction of any kind” — be approved by a two-thirds vote of the electorate.
“Los Angeles County's bag ‘charge' circumvents the law and violates the intent of Proposition 26,” said Mark Daniels, Hilex Poly's vice president of sustainability and environmental policy, in an April 16 statement. “We welcome an open debate about bag bans, but in this case, they were implemented against the will of the voters.”
“We respectfully disagree with the lower court's ruling and are filing an appeal,” said lawyer James Parrinello with Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP, which represents Hilex Poly and the other plaintiffs in the case.
“Proposition 26 protects Californians from hidden taxes levied by local governments without a vote of the people, regardless of who collects the tax,” he said. “L.A. County's 10-cent bag ‘charge' clearly violates the voters' will. We are confident in our case as it moves to the appellate court and believe the courts ultimately will strike down the illegal bag tax imposed by L.A. County.”
The Los Angeles County 10-cent charge for paper bags and ban on plastic bags applies only to unincorporated areas of the county.