By Bob Katzen

The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture held a public hearing on a bill that would create a mandatory program, run by paint manufacturers, to coordinate the collection, recycling, reuse and environmentally sound disposal of used leftover house paint purchased by consumers. The program would be funded by the manufacturers adding a fee to paint sold in the Bay State.

The bill mandates that under the plan, at least 90 percent of residents must have a collection site within a 15-mile radius and at least one collection site is established in each city and town with a population of 50,000 or more.

Supporters say this environmentally friendly and fiscally responsible program will increase the recycling of paint, save millions of dollars in paint disposal costs for cities and towns and create many green jobs.

Some opponents say the fee is nothing more than an unnecessary tax on consumers already overburdened with taxes. Others say this would create a slippery slope which could lead to this type of recovery system and tax on other items including spray cans, pillows, mattresses and tires that the government would decide are required to be handled the same way.

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