5-cent fee on paper, plastic bags still possible in N.J.

A cashier is pictured holding a plastic shopping bag with items inside.

A cashier is pictured holding a plastic shopping bag with items inside. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has not decided yet whether he’ll sign legislation to impose a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper shopping bags.

Murphy said Wednesday he’s still considering the measure that would raise an estimated $23 million for lead-abatement programs.

“There was a sense — because we didn’t include it in the budget — that we had come out negatively on it,” he said. “We didn’t include it in the budget because we felt like we had not had the time to assess it and really analyze it.”

The goal of the legislation is to cut down on plastic that ends up as litter and clogs waterways.

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But some environmental groups oppose it because the state law would prevent towns without a plastics ban from enacting their own prohibition.

The measure has advantages and disadvantages, Murphy said, adding he wants to take the time to make sure he gets it right.

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