California Residents and Hilex Poly File Lawsuit Over Illegal Unconstitutional Bag Tax

Oct 03, 2011, 14:00 ET from Hilex Poly

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Several California residents and Hilex Poly Co., LLC announced today that they are filling a lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles in response to the County's decision to ban the use of plastic carry out bags and impose an unconstitutional tax on paper carry out bags provided by retail stores. The plaintiffs will ask the court to declare that the so-called "charge" is invalid and prohibit the County from enforcing the ordinance and forcing stores to collect the special tax.

"Los Angeles County's bag 'charge' on consumers violates Proposition 26, which clearly requires local taxes be approved by a two-thirds vote. The ten-cent tax imposed on bags was never approved by voters much less by a two-thirds vote," said James Parrinello, senior litigation partner at Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP. "Proposition 26 was implemented to counter situations exactly like this one where taxes are labeled by the local government as 'fees' in order to circumvent the electoral process."

California residents approved Proposition 26 on Nov. 2, 2010, to require that state and local taxes be approved by a two-thirds vote. It defines a tax as "any levy, charge, or exaction of any kind imposed by a local government." Los Angeles County's bag "charge" is not covered by any of the exemptions in Proposition 26.

Los Angeles County's ten-cent 'charge' on paper bags began on July 1, and unconstitutionally imposes a tax on retail store customers to support the County's program of promoting and encouraging the use of reusable non-paper carryout bags.

"This charge is not only illegal but it's a hidden tax, exactly what Proposition 26 was meant to stop," stated Mark Daniels, Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Policy for Hilex Poly. "Policymakers have the right to pass bad laws but they do not have the right to pass illegal ones that sidestep the electoral process and, in this case, unfairly punish consumers."  

About Hilex Poly

Based in Hartsville, S.C., Hilex Poly is the nation's largest plastic bag manufacturer and operates the largest closed-loop recycling facility in the United States.  For more information on Hilex Poly's sustainability efforts, plastic bag recycling or the Bag-2-Bag program, visit


Catherine Michael

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SOURCE Hilex Poly