Letter to State Representatives Pertaining to Proposal For A Tax on Plastic Bags

[UPDATE: All of the state representatives replied to my e-mail. The most fitting of which was from Rep. Brad Daw wherein he stated, in total: “This bill died a painful death.” Good news!]

The Daily Herald has reported that “[a] proposal to add a 10-cent fee on all plastic and paper bags used in places like grocery stores is moving through the Utah legislature.” For someone who appreciates the benefits that have come with and from the use of plastic in society, unfortunately the measure has even passed The Business and Labor Committee in the Utah state Senate by a 3-2 vote. “Now it goes to the Senate.”

(Source: here, and here)

Constitutional and Procedural Issues are one thing. Policy considerations are another. Aside from Constitutional and other structural/procedural issues – there are policy considerations which should likewise be evaluated.

When evaluating whether or not a proposal should be considered (let alone passed/enforced) – one should always evaluate whether or not the contextual concern is real or imagined, as well as to what extent (as far as is possible).

Then, if real to a significant degree, it should be evaluated as to whether or not the measure would have a causal impact toward the positive end and claimed purpose that is legitimately desired in a way that outweighs the negative costs which will come along with any legislative passage/enforcement.

Far too often, even when issues are real – measures are taken which do not even address the issue, itself. In a similar vein, often the costs associated with various measures far outweigh the costs of the situation that existed even before the measure was taken.

In other words, every good analysis of legislation should include, among other things:

– Thorough analysis of the claimed and asserted problem;
– A Causal Analysis of the Effect such a measure will have on the problem that is claimed to be the purpose of such legislation; and
– A Costs-Benefits Analysis which takes into account the Costs, even the Unseen Costs of the passage and enforcement of such a measure.

Below was my general letter to the representatives which pertained specifically to myself and others in my family relative to this legislative proposal. This was sent to Senator Margaret Dayton, and Representatives Brad Daw, Kevin Stratton, and Val Peterson.



My family and I live in various places in Orem, with some living in all of your districts. I am writing on behalf of many of us.

The Daily Herald reports that Senator Jani Iwamato (among others) has sponsored a bill that involves a ten-cent tax on plastic and paper bags which has passed the Business and Labor Committee.

I would urge you to oppose any such measure if it or any like it comes before the House.

When measures like this have been imposed in other areas, the data indicates that it is not even an effective measure for the claimed problems it is ostensibly intended to alleviate. There are also many unintended consequences that have come with these measures which should also be taken into consideration.

I understand that you are all very busy and have limited time, but I would highly recommend reading this article on the issue (linked below).

Even though it seems “hip” (and I dare say “trendy”) to bash the use of plastic today – most don’t realize what a miracle it is in materials science. There are amazing benefits plastic has brought and continues to bring to people everyday. The article briefly describes the benefits and analyzes data pertaining to many of the negative claims proponents of the bill have promoted as cause for such a measure (e.g. Landfill overflow, killing of animals, etc.,etc.).

At the very least, the analysis and information found in the article should be considered and implemented as part of the debate on such an issue.


Thank you for your time and service.

If possible, I would be interested in any other info you may have on the issue going forward.


Skyler Hamilton


Here are some related links that are pertinent, including the article specifically recommended for reading to these representatives:

Reason Magazine

The Daily Herald


Given the considerations above – What do you think?

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