By Biko Skalla SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Madison County had done everything but voted on their law that would ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores, when governor Andrew Cuomo expressed his desire to make a similar law for the state.
James Goldstein is the Lebanon Town Supervisor and one of the leaders pushing to ban plastic bags in Madison County. Goldstein said the county had completed nearly all the preparation needed before putting the bill up for a vote, when the governor mentioned how he wanted to create a state-wide law on the same issue. This caused the county to stop in their tracks.
“We were ready to put it up to a vote,” Goldstein said, “but the state-wide law would overpower our county-wide law, and it doesn’t seem fair to the taxpayers to spend the money that is needed to finish the draft of the bill, put it up for a vote, and then to enforce it, if the law is going to mean nothing in a few months.”
So now Goldstein and Madison County have their eyes on the state legislature to see if Cuomo’s idea for a bill will materialize and make its way through Albany. But a state-wide plastic bag law could differ greatly from Madison County’s, and Goldstein said this is one of their biggest concerns.
“If there is a state law then it is out of our hands,” said Goldstein, “and Cuomo has said he wants to keep the bags in stores but apply a five cent cost to them that would go partly to the state and partly to the stores.”
Goldstein thinks that a law like this won’t do enough to deter shoppers from getting the plastic bags.
“If you get six bags it’s only going to cost you 30 cents,” Goldstein said, “how many people are gonna change their habits over 30 cents? Even if you get 20 bags it’s only one dollar. I don’t think customers are going to be phased by it.”
Goldstein expects the county will have to wait until the spring before making a judgement on if the state will pass a law that will overtake theirs.