Monday, December 10, 2007


Monday morning (12/10) the State senate Budget Committee considered the "Electronic Waste Management Act." It may sound like a fairly innocuous bill but, the bill's description on the State's website reveals a hidden tax. It says the legislation would, "provide for the collection and recycling of used televisions by imposing an advanced recovery fee on the sale of new television sets and authorizing that district recycling plans provide a plan for the collection, recycling and disposal of discarded televisions…….[The legislation] imposes an advance recovery fee of $10 upon the sale of each new television sold at retail. The advance recovery fee would be added to the total cost to the purchaser at retail after all applicable sales taxes on the television have been computed and must be separately stated on the invoice or bill of sale."

John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association says, "They can call it whatever they want, even an 'advanced recovery fee,' but it is a tax on any new TV that you buy. Call it a fee, call it a surcharge, there's no ifs ands or buts, it's a TV tax." He explains that if the bill becomes law, anybody who buys a new television in New Jersey will have something in common, "They'll pay a 7% (state) sales tax and they'll also pay, it's probably looking like a $10 tax for that TV."

Republicans on the panel say the story that ran on NJ 101.5 FM alerted them to the TV tax and made them think twice about supporting it. The committee was deadlocked at seven votes for advancing the measure and seven votes against. It appeared the bill would be held until the Chairman said the panel would wait until State Senator Sharpe James arrived to cast the deciding vote. When James showed up, he voted ‘Yes,’ and the measure was approved.

Holub says a bill is held or it’s not held, but rarely is a measure temporarily shelved until a committee member can be rushed in to be the tie-breaker. This legislative maneuver epitomizes the lame duck session. James did not run for re-election. He has recently been indicted by U-S Attorney Chris Christie on federal corruption charges. Not only is he permitted to stay on the Budget Committee, he is now the deciding vote on a bill that would tax new TV purchases if it becomes law.

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