Governor blocks NYC shopping bag fee

The governor signed an indefinite moratorium Thursday halting the a city-approved fee on disposable shopping bags.



Although he had until Saturday to make a decision, if Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not act before Wednesday -- the day the law was originally meant to take effect -- the city would have had the authority to begin enforcing it.



City leaders approved the 5-cent fee on plastic and paper and some cloth shopping bags as a way to reduce litter. It would have applied to purchases at restaurants and pharmacies and did not have an exemption for food stamp purchases.



The governor said that while the law was an attempt at combating pollution, it had other flaws.



State lawmakers in both the Assembly and Senate overwhelmingly overruled the city, saying the fee would be a burden on the poor and middle classes. Another criticism is that retailers would have kept the fees as profits, rather than them being spent on the environment.



The fee is now on hold until next year at the earliest.



Proponents of the fee on City Council expressed disappointment with the governor's move.


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