Judge says Aspen's 20-cent paper bag charge is fee

ASPEN, Colo. - A judge is backing Aspen's 20-cent charge for paper bags at grocery stores.

District Judge John Neiley ruled that the charge is a fee and not a tax and can remain in place. The Colorado Union of Taxpayers challenged it, saying it was a new tax that had to be approved by voters under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

Aspen implemented the fee when it banned plastic bags in 2012. The Aspen Daily News reports that Neiley ruled that its purpose is to encourage people to use reusable bags, not raise revenue. He added that it wasn't the court's job to decide whether that was a good idea or not.

The decision comes as Fort Collins is considering charging shoppers for using any kind of disposable bag.

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