Calif. Container-Fee Bill Vetoed

Apparel importers were relieved that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a containerfee bill that would have charged $60 for every 40-foot container going through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“This fee would have amounted to a tax that would have driven up the price of consumer goods for working Americans shopping in retail stores in virtually every state, not just California,” Tracy Mullin, president and chief executive of the National Retail Federation, said in a statement.

The bill (SB 927) had been sitting on the governor’s desk since the end of August. He had until Sept. 30 to make a decision on the bill, but he vetoed it on Sept. 22.

The bill would have collected about $500 million a year to improve security and infrastructure and to fight air pollution around the ports.

Although the governor said he supported the bill’s goals, he found the measure was flawed in its construction, lack of accountability, and failure to coordinate with other public and private financing sources to leverage additional funding.

“Additionally,” the governor said in a statement, “this measure is drafted to include only two ports and applies only to goods shipped in containers, ignoring all other forms of shipping and ports of entry.” —Deborah Belgum