A bill (HB 1071) that would prevent municipalities from taxing plastic bags has been vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf. The Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs opposed the legislation because it would take away decision-making at the local level.
The bill, authored by Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), would have prohibited local governments from taxing, banning, or limiting the use of plastic bags.
House and Senate members were split on the issue, with supporters arguing that it could impact jobs at the 14 plastic bag plants in PA.
“It [HB 1071] potentially thwarts local governments from complying with their trustee obligations under Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, to protect and preserve the environmental resources in their communities,” Wolf said.
The governor said the bill also contains a significant preemption issue as it relates to the rights of political subdivisions.
“In my view, the Commonwealth should only on rare occasions preempt the rights of local governments to implement laws and policies that it believes are in its best interest. Here, the Commonwealth is impeding the freedom of local governments to regulate recyclable plastic bags. This policy supporting this preemption is misguided and should not become the law of this Commonwealth,” he added.