NRF Opposes Computer Tax

By Alan Wolf On Aug 5 2002 - 6:00am




The National Retail Federation (NRF) has come out swinging against a proposed national computer-recycling program that would levy a $10 recycling fee on the sale of every computer monitor and laptop computer.

According to NRF senior VP Steve Pfister, the bill, dubbed the Computer Hazardous Waste Infrastructure Program Act, or CHIP Act, is written so broadly that it could be readily applied to televisions or almost any electronic device.

Pfister said the proposal would also put brick-and-mortar and online retailers at a disadvantage by exempting catalog sales, and would create a "public relations disaster" for merchants.

"Consumers are going to blame us for raising the price of their computers," he argued. What's more, retailers will also be forced to bear the costs and administrative burdens of collecting the tax with no benefit in return, he said.

Funds raised by the recycling surcharge would be used to make grants to individuals or organizations that operate recycling programs for the equipment. But the bill, introduced last month by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), would allow the fee to apply to any device that includes a CRT or LCD, as well as any "additional electronic devices" found to contain hazardous materials.

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