Hilex Poly, other plaintiffs file appeal to overturn Los Angeles' 10-cent disposable bag charge

Graziela Medina Shepnick

Graziela Medina Shepnick

Apr 16, 2012 – PRNewswire

LOS ANGELES , April 16, 2012 (press release) – The plaintiffs in Lee Schmeer v. Los Angeles County, which include several California residents and Hilex Poly Co., LLC, today filed an appeal to overturn the Los Angeles Superior Court ruling. The case will determine whether the will of California voters who approved Proposition 26 will be upheld.

The law, passed by California voters in 2010, requires that local taxes, defined as "any levy, charge or exaction of any kind," be approved by a vote of the electorate.

"We respectfully disagree with the lower court's ruling and are filing an appeal. Proposition 26 protects Californians from hidden taxes levied by local governments without a vote of the people, regardless of who collects the tax," said James Parrinello, senior litigation partner at Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP. "L.A. County's ten-cent bag 'charge' clearly violates the voters' will. We are confident in our case as it moves to the appellate court and believe the courts ultimately will strike down the illegal bag tax imposed by L.A. County."

In July 2011, Los Angeles County imposed a ten-cent bag "charge" without a vote of the people.

"Los Angeles County's bag 'charge' circumvents the law and violates the intent of Proposition 26," said Mark Daniels, Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Policy for Hilex Poly which is a plaintiff in the case. "Plastic bag bans and taxes destroy a preexisting and growing recycling infrastructure and are the wrong approach to addressing litter; we welcome an open debate about bag bans, but in this case, they were implemented against the will of the voters."

In the initial complaint, the plaintiffs asked that the court declare the so-called "charge" invalid and prohibit the County from enforcing the ordinance that forces stores to collect the special tax.

Teresa Casazza, president of the nonpartisan, nonprofit California Taxpayers Association, commented on the government-imposed ten-cent charge: "When a shopper pays for the bag, the payment covers more than the actual cost of the bag, and the revenue benefits others who don't pay. This is a clear example of an illegal tax from which California voters sought protection by passing Proposition 26 – and we fully support this appeal."

For more information on Proposition 26: The California Taxpayers Association report, "Understanding Proposition 26: A Sponsor's Guide to California's New Tax Structure."

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/16/4418199/plaintiffs-file-appeal-in-lee.html#storylink=cpy

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