TOPEKA, Kan. (Feb. 10, 2016) — The Kansas House of Representatives is considering a bill that would reduce the state's waste tire excise tax and eliminate its waste tire grant program.
H.B. 2517 was introduced Jan. 22 and assigned to the Kansas House Energy and Environment Committee (KDHE).
The bill would reduce the waste tire tax on new tires to 15 cents from 25, as well as eliminating waste tire grants to fund projects for cities, counties and schools for recycled rubber playground cover, park benches, picnic tables and running tracks, according to a Jan. 29 letter from the Kansas Office of the Budget.
Eliminating the grant program would reduce expenditures by $300,000, said Kansas Budget Director Shawn Sullivan. “The remaining fund balance would be adequate for the continuation of statewide waste tire cleanup projects,” Mr. Sullivan wrote in the letter.
The waste tire grant program is under evaluation, and the Kansas Bureau of Waste Management is not accepting grant applications for fiscal year 2016, according to the bureau's website.
However, the bureau still features a page about its orphan waste tire cleanup initiative, which reimburses cities and counties for the cleanup of illegally dumped or abandoned tires.
The Energy and Environment Committee held a hearing on H.B. 2517 Feb. 8. At that hearing, Gary Mason, deputy director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), confirmed that the waste tire grant program had been suspended, according to an article from the Topeka Capital Journal.
The article also stated that the Bureau of Waste Management — an agency of KDHE — disposed of only about 1,000 tires annually over the past two years, compared with more than 11 million tires between 1993 and 2001.
Officials of the Bureau of Waste Management could not be reached for comment.