SANTA BARBARA - It could soon cost you if you don't bring your own shopping bag to the grocery store in Santa Barbara. City council members are considering a tax on single use plastic and paper bags.
The council is considering funding a survey, to find out whether the tax initiative would have overwhelming support. If it does, the council will consider putting the initiative on the November ballot.
Mayor Helene Schneider explains, "Any kind of tax measure requires the vote of the people."
If voters approve the initiative, the tax would range from ten to twenty five cents per bag. The money that it generates would then go toward services paid for by the city's general fund.
"Such as police and fire, parks and recreation, our library services, our planning division," says Schneider.
Supporters of the initiative, like Hunter Flynn, hope the fees will encourage people to bring re-usable bags to the grocery store.
"I think its the best way to reduce plastic bag use in Santa Barbara."
Scott Walker agrees, "Plastic bags are an environmental problem, and if you start to do the math, one person using 700 bags per year, add that up. It becomes a very inefficient way to go about our daily life."
Those opposed to the tax argue it would be an added burden to those already struggling in the tough economy.
Others, like Randy Cobb, simply don't want the government to get involved.
"We don't need taxes to force us one way or the other. I believe its a personal choice."
Dave O'Donnell adds,"People know to recycle, people know they need to bring a bag to the store every time they show up, so I think its just a smoke screen, they just want to find a new revenue source."
During Tuesday's city council meeting, members agreed to revisit the issue in July, when they look at the city's budget.