WASHINGTON (May 29, 2001)–Officials of tire and rubber industry associations are generally pleased with the House and Senate approval of President Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut package May 26. But they were disappointed in the passage of Senate committee chairmanships to the Democrats with the May 24 change of Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont from Republican to Democrat-allied independent.
Both the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the International Tire and Rubber Association said they were members of the Tax Relief Coalition, which supported the president' s package.
“This bill is very important to the American public,” said Ann Wilson, RMA director of government affairs. “It provides some necessary breaks for taxpayers and for the economy.”
The chief disappointment of the Tire Association of North America was that the new bill doesn't accelerate the repeal of the estate tax before 2010. “Our next goal is to see if we can accelerate that,” said Becky MacDicken, TANA director of government affairs. “But with Jeffords' latest switch, I don't think it will happen during the next two years.”
Roy E. Littlefield Jr., government relations director of ITRA, was particularly disappointed at the loss of two GOP Senate committee chairmen friendly to tire dealers-–Charles Grassley of Iowa at the Finance Committee and Bob Smith of New Hampshire at Environment and Public Works.
New England ITRA members had planned to meet with Mr. Smith in June about Senate consideration of a House-passed bill to exempt small businesses from Superfund liability, according to Mr. Littlefield. “Now Jeffords will be the chairman, and he wasn't even on the committee before,” he said.