by Kristina Rasmussen
By now you probably know that I'm no fan of the plastic bag regulations currently up for consideration in the House. Neither is the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune.
Since my article ran back in April, I've been contacted by Illinois businesses in the plastic bag and film sector, and the message I'm hearing is the same: they didn't know about this bill, and they certainly don't approve of it.
This doesn't match the line from industry representatives in Springfield, who keep saying that "business wants this bill." I've yet to hear from an Illinois-based business who supports the measure.
I received the following letter by email this morning; it was sent to all statehouse legislators. It's definitely worth a read. Kudos to Don Fisher of Fisher Container Corp in Buffalo Grove for speaking out.
May 4, 2012
As a three-generation American family business, we value the American principles of free market. However, due to progressively invasive government regulation, being a small business, a job creator, and American manufacturer is becoming increasingly difficult.
While there is certainly nothing new about overbearing governance in the private sector, a bill of relevance to our industry has come to our attention. The bill in question, titled SB3442, or the Plastic Bag & Film Recycle Act, has been passed through the Illinois General Assembly’s senate and referred to the House’s Rules Committee as of March 29th this year.
Although it was written with positive intentions, this bill is, in our opinion, uninformed and its supporters are unaware of the burdensome damage it will bring to Illinois printers and manufacturers of flexible packaging.
Concerning points of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Terry Link and Rep. Michael Tryon, are as follows:
- Requiring manufacturers of bags and plastic wrap to register annually with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and pay a $500 fee.
- Requiring manufacturers of plastic bags to print their company names on all bags.
- Requiring manufacturers of plastic bags to create and maintain a plan for collecting and recycling plastic bags and submitting their plan to the IEPA. That plan must include collection locations and a public education campaign.
- Requiring manufacturers of plastic bags to submit a report to the IEPA annually with a description of recycling and collection efforts, including weight in pounds of the bags, and plastic wrap, collected
Because much of the packaging manufactured by our industry is NOT printed, forcing all products through the printing process would, in no uncertain terms, render the state of Illinois non-competitive. The unavoidable result would be the loss of manufacturing jobs to out-of-state and foreign competitors, loss of tax revenue, and the loss of employment opportunities in our state.
As our country becomes more and more dependent upon a service-based economy, flexible packaging and printing is quickly becoming one of the last bastions of American Manufacturing. Uninformed and overbearing regulations, such as the Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Act, are damaging not only to Illinois, but to the American economy in its entirety. In these troubled times it would be a mistake to impair the ability of manufacturers to remain competitive.
We ask you to stand with us in opposing this incredibly damaging bill: SB3442, the Plastic Bag & Film Recycle Act.
Fisher Container Corp
Working to simplify the existing regulatory maze while attempting to
halt efforts to further extend the reach of the bureaucracy and impose
unfunded mandates on businesses is a noble cause. Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers should be free to advertise, display and sell legitimate products in any manner they believe meets the needs of their customers. It's not clear why a moratorium on local bag bans and taxes has to be
mixed up with job-killing regulations and a bigger bureaucracy to
enforce those mandates.
Illinois can be number one in economic growth and job creation. It's the vision that drives our work at the Illinois Policy Institute. Drop me a line and let me know how your business would be impacted by this or any other misguided law. I'm at krasmussen (@) illinoispolicy.org.