Lawmakers to debate 25-cent plastic bag tax in Colorado

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DENVER — The use of plastic bags at grocery stores has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years. It’s estimated Americans use 100 billion each year.

Some cities and states have banned the use all together, including many Colorado towns such as Vail and Telluride.

Now Colorado state lawmakers will debate a measure to tax the use of plastic bags across the state. Money raised will go toward affordable housing.

“Affordable housing is the No. 1 issue on people’s minds,” said Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, the sponsor of the bill.

“This bill would kill two birds with one stone. We’ll have funds for affordable housing around the state and call attention to the overuse of plastic bags.”

Whenever someone goes to a grocery store, they would be asked if they need plastic bags. If the answer is yes, a 25-cent tax would be applied. The tax would cover any bags needed.

At Safeway in Denver, Jaime Miller said the measure would force him to use reusable bags.

“I have bags at my house that I could of carried here and I didn’t,” Miller said.

Republicans have expressed opposition and their position is crucial because they control the State Senate.

“It’s a terrible idea. We need to stop telling people what to do in this building,” House Republican leader Patrick Neville said.

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