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.