Tax plastic disposables

Connecticut faces a $5 billion deficit. While both parties need to recognize a dual strategy of seeking new revenues and spending cuts, they should do more.

When considering new revenues, we could implement market-driven policies that shape human behavior, increasing costs to influence choices. For example, long ago, states caught on to the idea of so-called "sin taxes" on alcohol or cigarettes. However, this regressive tax has limited impact on the alleged sin, instead becoming a permanent source of new taxes for new spending.

With a little creativity, we could tackle the endless flow of plastic carelessly tossed out car windows, poisoning wildlife and ending up in our food and water supplies. Communities that charge a tax on plastic bags dramatically reduce use of such bags in favor of paper or reusable bags. I suggest a state tax on every plastic cup, straw, plate, utensil or carry-out package to create a market incentive to use paper or reusable containers. During the transition away from plastic trash, the state will gain new revenue, but as the shift accelerates, this revenue will automatically sunset, reducing the incentive to grow government, supporting short-term deficit reduction and solving an environmental problem.

Conrad Heede


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