The city's unofficial flag flies from thousands of trees across the five boroughs. It's dropped to the ground by thousands of candy-mad kids as they walk out of bodegas. It serves as pooper-scooper for thousands of dogs. Now Mayor Bloomberg hopes to put a nickel in city coffers from the use of each bodega bag.
Originally, Bloomberg sought to levy a six-cent tax -- or "user fee" -- on the plastic bags, a plan he hoped would raise about $18 million. He's now willing to drop his tax by a penny to five cents, but he wants to hit every plastic bag handed out by every store in town.
Another driver behind the growth in projections to $84 million (PDF) is the realization that there are way more bags floating around New York City than previously thought. Divide that by .05 and the new estimate is that Gotham goes through 1.68 billion bags annually or 198 bags per year for every man, woman and child each year.