The New York Assembly passed on Tuesday a moratorium to suspend the NYC Council's plastic bag tax legislation, claiming the tax is "an undue burden on hundreds of thousands of hard-working, taxpayers."

New York Assemblymen Dov Hikind and Michael Cusick joined their colleagues on the Assembly floor Tuesday afternoon to vote on a moratorium to suspend the NYC Council’s five-cent bag tax slated to go into effect February 15. The bill garnered unprecedented support in the Assembly, passing by a landslide vote of 122-15.

"I am proud to stand with Assemblyman Cusick and several of my colleagues in opposition to the bag tax, which is just another undue burden on hard-working taxpayers," Assemblyman Hikind said. "I thank Speaker Heastie for the opportunity to speak out against this tax that would undoubtedly nickel and dime hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers."

The moratorium allows lawmakers time to review the NYC Council’s legislation and to potentially find a middle-ground. In order to take effect, the bill must be signed by Governor Cuomo, however, as it stands, there are enough votes to override the Governor should he elect to veto the moratorium.

"This tax would only create chaos in our grocery stores throughout New York City," Hikind said. "As consumers, we will now have to worry about bringing our reusable bags every time we go to the supermarket. Some people don’t care about the five-cent fee, what’s five cents to some people?They will just pay it!

"But the elderly woman down the street who lives on a fixed income does care, as do larger households much like in the Jewish community. We all care about the environment, but we also must address and care for the concerns of our constituents who don’t want this unjust tax.

"I encourage the public to call Governor Cuomo, and ask him to sign this moratorium bill that will allow lawmakers the necessary time to review the City Council’s legislation and possible alternative measures."

Israel recently instituted a similar law, charging customers at seven major chain stores 10 agorot per plastic bag.

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