WASHINGTON (March 29)—Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., and Rep. Wes Watkins, R-Okla., have introduced identical bills to simplify the way excise taxes are calculated for new heavy-duty truck tires. The bills would allow tire manufacturers to calculate the excise tax by the tires´ maximum load-bearing capacity, rather than by their weight. This would remove a heavy administrative and physical management burden on both tire makers and the Internal Revenue Service while warding off any move toward imposition of a weight-distance tax, which truckers and retreaders oppose, said John Serumgard, executive vice president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association. But the International Tire & Rubber Association, which represents retreaders, is skeptical of the tax proposal. "We have great concerns over whether this bill is revenue-neutral," said Roy E. Littlefield III, ITRA director of government relations. "If it isn´t—and our preliminary calculations suggest it isn´t—we fear it will come back and hurt the industry." The bills have been assigned to the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees.