Initiative Update

Coalition Launches Opposition to Plastic Tax That Would Hit Working Families

ballot box

CalTax and others this week launched Stop the Tax on Working Families, a campaign to defeat the flawed tax increase on working families that has qualified for the November ballot.

“Californians already face some of the highest taxes in the nation, and hundreds of billions more have been proposed this year at both the state and local level,” CalTax President Robert Gutierrez said. “Working families cannot afford this new tax, which will drive up the cost of living and drive even more people out of California.”

CalTax is co-chairing Stop the Tax on Working Families with the California Business Roundtable, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, and the California Retailers Association.

“The so-called ‘California Recycling and Plastics Pollution Reduction Act’ is a regressive tax on California working families when they pay for food, diapers and other necessities,” California Business Roundtable President Rob Lapsley said. “California families face one of the highest costs of living, rapidly increasing inflation and the highest poverty rate among states. The last thing working families need right now is another regressive tax on essentials, especially when the state has a $46 billion – and growing – budget surplus.”

The opposition campaign said in its announcement that it is building “a robust and aggressive campaign to defeat this measure in November.”

“Like all Californians, businesses are doing their part to reduce plastic waste and increase recycling, while still looking for ways to do more,” California Retailers Association President Rachel Michelin said. “But this deeply flawed measure isn’t the answer. Only a fraction of the money raised by this new tax will go to plastics recycling and reduction, but there is no limit on how much CalRecycle [the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery] can spend to develop and implement regulations and enforce the new tax. There are ways to increase recycling and reduce waste without raising the cost of living on working families and businesses.”

Lance Hastings, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, said manufacturers in this state already are leading the way with new technologies to reduce single-use plastics.

“We will continue to support commonsense approaches to increasing recycling, but this ballot measure is flawed and won’t deliver on its promises,” Hastings said. “What’s worse, working families and businesses will be stuck footing the bill on yet another set of failed and expensive recycling policies in this state.”

Although the regressive tax would hit working Californians the hardest, proponents of the initiative describe their proposal as a social justice measure that would benefit low-income communities, and characterize the tax as a “fee” on producers.

Although the initiative has qualified for the November ballot, proponents have the ability to withdraw it in the event that the Legislature and governor negotiate a compromise acceptable to the parties who filed the measure.