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NJ lawmaker look at possible bag fee to help clean up bay

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 07 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 08 2013 04:50:40 AM CST

People who go shopping in New Jersey may be asked to pay a little more in 2014.

If you plan on shopping in New Jersey, you could be asked to dig a little deeper in your pocket when it's time to pay.

A new bag fee in 2014 would help clean Barnegat Bay, along the coast of Ocean County.

"We were well aware of it," said John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Association. "We've been in discussions with Senator Smith who is sponsor of the legislation. So we've been in discussion with him for quite some time. Unfortunately we can't be supportive of this proposal."

The New Jersey Retail Association says the fee or tax, as officials call it, would hurt business.

There is also the work it's already done over the last 10 years to make plastic bags more environmentally safe.

"Everything from just the overall encouragement, the reduction and the reuse of plastic bags," added Holub. "As well as even offering in store recycling of plastic bags."

Some shoppers say that is a good thing but after seeing all the damage Hurricane Sandy did at the shore, they would pay the extra money to help fellow residents.

"It's helping to clean the shore," said Phillipsburg, New Jersey resident Michelle Kenney. "I know I love to go to the shore when I get a chance and it's just a beautiful thing. We should all help."

"I wouldn't care where it goes," said Robert Stambtz, another Phillipsburg resident. "As long as it's helping people get through the storm and stuff."

The full New Jersey Senate is expected to vote on the bag fee bill in the next two months then it will move to the New Jersey Assembly.