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Plastic bag tax vote delayed in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new tax was delayed Tuesday, just as it was on the verge of being approved.

The proposed tax would have been 7 cents per plastic bag at places such as grocery stores and gas stations. But Memphis City Council delayed the decision for another 30 days, potentially because of a bill that was recently signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.

Governor Lee signed a bill in April in reaction to the recent consideration by Memphis and Nashville to add the plastic bag tax. It prevents local government from taxing the bags and gives the state the final call.

So there's a chance that a tax will eventually happen, but it will have to be through state government.

"A bill was passed on March 28 and signed by Governor Lee on April 12 that actually restricted municipalities from being able to impose these kind of fees on plastic bags at the counter. It's very descriptive," Adrian Bond, with the American Progressive Bag Alliance, said.

It's a split issue across the country. Fourteen states have plastic bag related taxes and some of the largest cities in the country, such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. have them too.

But eleven states also have the "ban on bans," that disallows city governments to get involved.

While the tax has been held off for now, Memphis residents told WREG they are optimistic about the idea.

Just the idea of state government banning local government from doing business is controversial. But as it stands, Memphis City Council will have to wait on the decision makers at the capitol.

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