Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued a letter expressing his strong concerns about Intro 0209-2014, more commonly known as the “bag fee” legislation. While the legislation seeks to protect the environment, Borough President Diaz is concerned that it places that burden on low-income New Yorkers and seniors that are struggling to pay bills, and represents a regressive tax.

“The bill operates like a regressive tax, and will not yield the environmental goals the legislation hopes to achieve,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Higher-income New Yorkers will not be motivated to change their behaviors through this proposed fee, and lower income New Yorkers will bear the brunt of this proposal. While the environmental goals of this legislation are laudable, the methods are flawed.”

The complete letter can be read here:

Borough President Diaz noted that there are multiple alternatives to achieving environmentally-friendly ends without negatively impacting low-income individuals and families. He added that the City should explore public education campaigns, a free bag distribution program for low-income New Yorkers, better bag recycling programs and bans on some types of bags, among other proposals.

“More creative and less punitive options should be explored that would actually achieve the intended purpose as opposed to encumbering low-income people whose demanding lives make it challenging to bring cloth bags to run every errand, exposing them to this regressive, backdoor tax,” wrote Borough President Diaz in his letter to Council Member Brad Lander, the chief sponsor of the legislation.