Opinion: Save taxpayers before saving the world

By J.G. Collins

Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Epstein recently wrote of their efforts to save the planet’s oceans and prevent global warming by voting to ban plastic bags in New York State and to assess a five- cent tax on each paper bag shoppers use to carry products home.

Those of us with more modest ambitions than saving the planet and a closer focus on municipal and fiscal matters would simply like to reduce the estimated $400,000,000 per year the city spends exporting its solid waste.

Why are we stopping with plastic shopping bags? And why inconvenience and tax already-harried New Yorkers in their hectic workdays to think to carry shopping bags—plastic or otherwise—instead of putting the burden upstream, on producers and distributors of products packaged in plastic?

Plastic milk and juice bottles, plastic take-out containers, and the huge plastic containers of coffee and other dry commodities could be abandoned if the state government had the will to stand up to business lobbyists who would oppose such moves.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for choking woman, Guitar theft in Union Square


Police arrested a 32-year-old man for obstruction of breath and assault in front of 109 West 25th Street on Saturday, February 22 at 12:30 a.m. The victim told police that he got into an argument with the suspect and was attempting to walk away. He said that he told the suspect to leave him alone and the suspect then grabbed the victim by the neck, causing pain and redness to the area. The suspect then punched the victim in the face multiple times, causing pain.


Police arrested a 45-year-old man for a theft from the TJ Maxx at 620 Sixth Avenue that took place earlier this year. Police said that on February 21 around 5:30 p.m., the suspect and two other people who haven’t been arrested entered the store and proceeded to use an unknown object to break open a glass case that contained purses and other items. The suspects then began to grab the items inside the case and put them in a bag before leaving without paying for the items. The suspect was arrested inside the 13th precinct on Sunday, March 8 at 11:45 a.m. and was charged with grand larceny.

Police said that the suspect also took a Givenchi purse from the store on February 11 around 7:15 p.m.

The suspect, along with two other men who weren’t arrested, also reportedly stole from the Guitar Center at 25 West 14th Street on February 12 around 2 p.m. Police said that while the man who was arrested distracted a store employee, the two other suspects grabbed a Taylor custom 12-string guitar with brown wood and ocean vine inlay.

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