BROWNSVILLE, Texas (Legal Newsline) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced this week that his office has filed a lawsuit against the city of Brownsville for an alleged illegal sales tax. 

In Brownsville, shoppers are charged a $1 “environmental fee” for plastic bags provided during checkout. Under the Texas Health & Safety Code, plastic checkout bags are considered “containers or packages.” State law mandates local governments manage waste from taxes already collected, which, according to Paxton, means they cannot assess taxes or fees at the register. 

“No local government has the authority to violate Texas law just because it feels like it,” Paxton said. “Clearly, Brownsville is raising taxes on its citizens through this unlawful bag fee. The rule of law must be upheld, and state law is clear – bags may not be taxed.” 

The environmental fee in Brownsville has led to $3.8 million in added taxes for Brownsville residents, according to the Brownsville Herald.

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Texas Office of the Attorney General
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