A paint tax could be coming to N.J.

Meg Fry//May 18, 2015

A paint tax could be coming to N.J.

Meg Fry//May 18, 2015

New Jersey residents may be surprised to learn why the price of paint may soon be increasing.The bill S-1420, which requires paint manufacturers to implement or participate in “paint stewardship”, will be put to a vote in the state senate Monday.

John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, is encouraging Senators to oppose it.

“First and foremost, this is a tax. It’s not an assessment or a fee, it’s a tax that the consumer is ultimately going to have to pay,” Holub said.

The bill is intended to implement “extended producer responsibility” paint recycling into the state.

However, such paint stewardship programs will be funded via an “assessment” at the wholesale level for every can of paint a retailer purchases from the manufacturer. Retailers will pay this assessment to purchase the paint and then in turn be required to tack it onto the consumer.

Holub said that “assessment” never shows up on the consumer’s receipt.

“Paint manufacturers are trying to hide this tax from the consumer,” Holub said. “And private companies are getting the government to create a fee which these private companies will then manage.”

True “extended producer responsibility” legislation, Holub said, would implement a program where a manufacturer takes full responsibility for the product, even at its end of life.

“In this case, retailers are prepaying tax and will not get that back if the can of paint never gets sold,” Holub said.

Manufacturers stand to collect millions of dollars from consumers without being audited or providing third-party verifications of the collection and expenditure of such funds within their submitted annual reports with the Department of Environmental Protection.

“There’s zero oversight on this,” Holub said. “And the paint manufacturers are trying to say retail supports this, citing brands such as Benjamin Moore and Shermin Williams, which are paint manufacturers, too.”

With the passing of this bill, assessments for “stewardship programs” on other products such as mattresses, carpet and batteries, may also be considered.


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