New York tire dealers are unhappy with the provisions of the state's new scrap tire law, and are seeking the aid of the Tire Industry Association and the Rubber Manufacturers Association to amend the regulation.
The dealers are frustrated that only about 30 percent of the funds the new fee generates each year goes to scrap tire management, with the rest going to the state's general fund.
Even worse, while the new, $2.50-per-new-tire fee is listed as a separate charge on the invoice, any further fees paid by the dealer for hauling, recycling and similar uses must not be charged separately, but must be included in the total advertised price of the tire, according to the new law's provisions.
This reverses accepted practice in New York, where tire dealers long have listed hauling and recycling fees separately from the price of the tire, according to TIA and the New York Tire Dealers Association. It also puts New York dealers at an apparent competitive disadvantage with dealers in neighboring states.
"Motorists have no idea what the extra cost is for if you're not allowed to tell them," said Becky MacDicken, TIA government affairs director. "So you raise your prices, and suddenly dealers in New Jersey and Connecticut seem to have a lot lower prices than you."
Furthermore, the 25 cents that New York dealers are allowed to keep out of each new tire fee don't begin to pay their costs for hauling and recycling, according to MacDicken. The recycling of a scrap passenger tire costs in the range of $1.50, she said, while a scrap truck tire may cost anywhere from $8 to $15 to recycle.
The New York legislature approved the scrap tire bill May 14, overriding the veto of Gov. George Pataki. The RMA estimated at the time that the new fee, which went into effect Sept. 12 and continues until 2010, will generate about $56 million per full calendar year, of which an estimated $16.3 million will go into the state's scrap tire fund. Pataki's proposal was to give only $5 million annually from the fee to the scrap tire fund, with the rest going toward balancing the state budget.
TIA and the NYTDA held a joint meeting in Farmingdale recently, with RMA State Legislative Manager John Falardeau in attendance, to protest the new scrap tire law and hear recommendations on how it should be changed. All attendees agreed that tire dealers should be allowed to list their recycling costs, like the state fee, separately from the tire price, and objected to the state requiring dealers to post signs saying the state fee went to scrap tire cleanup when only a small part of it does. Some suggested that the importer of the tire to the state should collect the state fee, rather than the tire dealer.
"At the end of 10 years when this statute sunsets, New York will still have tire piles to clean up and citizens will be wondering where their money went," MacDicken said in a TIA news release.
No one is really sure why the legislature insisted that recycling fees must be part of the tire's advertised price, an RMA spokesman said. "Maybe they did not want it to appear that they were making their constituents pay more for their tires," he said.
TIA and the RMA are waiting for the NYTDA to form an ad hoc committee to draft and submit new scrap tire regulatory language to the New York legislature, MacDicken said. Both associations have pledged their help.
"We're just trying to get the rule back to what it was, which was fairer and more equitable," the RMA spokesman said. The new scrap tire language may not be ready in time for consideration in the current legislative session, he added.
Richard Van Allen, executive director of the NYTDA, could not be reached for comment.