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September 14, 2009

Voters Do Not Pass Seattle Bag Fee

Business Week 08.19.09SeattleTimesBagFee

On August 18, Seattle voters rejected a 20-cent fee on use-and-toss bags. With about half the votes counted, the bag fee was falling behind 58 percent to 42 percent in the primary. The city had originally passed an ordinance to implement the fee, which would have started in January. However, the plastic industry incited a referendum that brought the issue to voters in an election this August. Groups against the fee outspent opponents by about $15-to-1.

Read more here.

Our Take: Having backed the fee from the start, we are disappointed it didn’t pass. However, more than 46 percent of people voted for the fee, which is pretty huge and shows that bag fees represent a smart, market-based solution to the problem.

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