A small incentive to use reusable bags could go a long way towards keeping Arlington cleaner AND bring in some much-needed revenue. So what's the holdup? Under Virginia's antiquated Dillon Rule system, Arlington has to ask Virginia's General Assembly for permission first:
You'd think Democrats & Republicans would be able to come together on giving communities a greater degree of home rule -- what does a Republican from Botetourt County care if Arlington wants to get rid of plastic bags?County Board members will again next year ask the General Assembly for permission to either ban single-use plastic bags at retail outlets, like supermarkets and convenience stores, or to be given the authority to tax them.
But this is less an issue of politics than it is of power. General Assembly members like being able to tell communities what they can & can't do. After all, why would they want to give up their ability to pass along unfunded mandates to communities? They can take credit for making something happen without having to take the blame of raising taxes to pay for it. Sounds like a win-win! For 140 politicians in Richmond, anyway.