Letters to the Editor

Fees for car tabs, bags make sense | Letters | Sept. 3

It’s no secret that our fine city has fallen on difficult economic times. While additional cuts will likely be necessary to balance the books, I believe we should look for additional sources of revenue as well.

In my neighborhood, all households who share common private roads give $100 a year for maintenance. This is five times the amount proposed by the $20-a-year car tab fee.

Despite the negative financial impacts of the recession on all of us, I feel this is a simple, reasonable way to invest in our community by improving the infrastructure we all benefit from while creating additional construction jobs.

If you don’t like the idea of the new fee, perhaps you could use one less tank of gas on the year to offset the cost. In the process, you would be helping wean our country off foreign oil and we would all breathe a little easier.

Another source of revenue could come from a 10-cent, opt-out shopping bag fee. This fee may not generate the million dollars we had hoped to have in savings by the end of the year, but it would go a long way.

Should you be opposed or unable to afford this fee, you would have the option of politely telling the store clerk you prefer not to pay the additional cost. Another way to avoid this fee would be to use your own reusable bags when you shop.

In order to help local businesses transition to the change, they could be paid half, or even all, of the fee for the first year.

We are long overdue for a clean energy revolution that puts Americans back to work and weans us off dangerous, non-renewable, hard-to-get sources of fossil fuels. The phenomenal amount of plastic floating in our oceans should point to the fact that our culture of convenience is contributing to a legacy of pollution. We can do much better.

This shopping bag fee would provide an incentive for those who act responsibly and be an important step in the inevitable change to a cleaner, more sustainable way of life.

Let’s do it. Let’s recognize the collective benefit of investing in our community, our country and our environment. Unlike former Vice President Dick Cheney, who claimed “deficits don’t matter,”

I believe they do. But they aren’t as ominous as some would have you believe, especially when so many people are out of work and new and unusual extreme weather events continue to point to Mother Nature’s upper hand.

The proposed car tab fee could help us make the jump to cleaner methods of transportation by prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists ahead of cars. A shopping bag fee would help us clean up our oceans while generating much needed community revenue. It’s so simple. It could be - in the bag.

Chris McMasters

Bainbridge Island

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