California Governor Vetoes Bill for Upfront Electronics Recycling Fee

Arlington, VA - Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and Dave McCurdy, president of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), praised California Governor Gray Davis for his veto of the "tech tax" bill.

"We thank Governor Davis for recognizing the serious negative ramifications of the Sher bill," said Mr. McCurdy. "We all agree that electronics recycling is important. But a California-only tax that creates competitive disadvantages within our industry and is harmful to the state's economy is not the solution."

"A better solution should focus on reducing the regulatory barriers that currently exist in California for electronics recycling; increasing the recycling opportunities for California consumers; and educating consumers on how to recycle their used electronics," said Mr. Shapiro. "In addition, it's important that a workable model in California complement any national solution as we move forward. The electronics industry is committed to finding a national solution for electronics recycling."

Beginning in 2004, the Sher bill (SB 1523) would have imposed a fee of $10 on TVs and desktop computer monitors bought in California. The funds would have been directed to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), which would distribute the grants to waste haulers, recyclers and cities statewide.

However, the legislation could have been legally imposed only on companies with a bricks-and-mortar presence in California; Internet sales would not be affected unless the company in question had a nexus in the state. This would have forced retailers on the ground in California and consumers making purchases in California stores to shoulder the economic burden. It would have given manufacturers and retailers who sell only online a substantial competitive advantage in California and it would have also saddled Californians with extra costs just for shopping in their own state.

Governor Davis also vetoed a companion bill, SB 1619, which was opposed by the electronics industry for creating unrealistic goals and time frames for increasing the amount of recovery and recycling of electronics in California.

"Our industry is working hard to provide Californians with several immediate options to help with the creation of a recycling infrastructure." said Mr. Shapiro. "Sony, Panasonic and Sharp have agreed to sponsor 20 recycling events in the state of California, and all three companies will pay for the recycling of their products that are collected during these events. Gateway offers a rebate for consumers who recycle their used computers. HP, IBM and Dell also have mail-back programs that allow consumers to send in any brand of computer and be assured that the products are recycled."