Capitol Alert

Californians dodge another tax increase as lawmaker pulls bill opposed by tire dealers

A proposal to raise the California tire change fee, which critics called a tax that would hit lower-income residents hardest, has been pulled at the request of its sponsor.

Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, requested that Assembly Bill 755 be shelved on Wednesday.

“We are in the first year of a two year legislative session, and we need more time to work with stakeholders so that we can successfully navigate it through the legislative process and ultimately deliver a solution that many cities need to mitigate stormwater contamination,” Holden said in a statement.

AB 755 was part of a raft of tax increase proposals considered by the Democrat-controlled Legislature this session. The bill would have raised the tire change fee from $1.75 to $3.25, with the estimated $55 million in annual revenue going into the state’s Stormwater Permit Compliance Fund.

Tires are considered a major source of zinc in urban stormwater runoff, according to the California Stormwater Quality Association. Holden described the fee increase as “modest,” and said it would help address “a high-level water quality threat to the current collection of stormwater,” in an analysis of the bill.

The bill was opposed by the California Tire Dealers Association, which argued that “we do not understand why the focus is on tires when they contain a minimal amount of zinc....”

The group argued that there are many other outdoor metal surfaces, including street signs, lights and benches, that also contain zinc.

“Most troublesome with the proposal is that this tax will fall hardest on those with the least ability to pay, namely low-income individuals and hardworking families,” the group argued. “AB 755 institutes a ‘regressive’ tax that, combined with the current tire fee, will increase the cost of a set of new tires by $13.00.”

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