Publication 216, The First 100 Years


Litter Assessment

One of the most recent assignments given the Board of Equalization was the administration of an assessment levied under the State Litter Control, Recycling and Resource Recovery Act of 1977.127 The act called for the implementation of a statewide litter control, recycling, and resource recovery plan, effective January 1, 1978. The law imposed an annual assessment on each person required to hold a seller’s permit and on each manufacturer or wholesaler engaged in the sale of tangible personal property in the State of California.128

Although the Board opposed the funding method, the Legislature enacted it into law. The tax proved extremely unpopular, particularly since it did not take effect until after the adoption of Proposition 13. Taxpayers were under the impression that it had been imposed contrary to Proposition 13’s prohibition of new taxes. Citing all the opposition to the tax, the Board submitted the following recommendation to the Legislature in reference to the litter tax:

“Because of the compliance burden on the taxpayer and the relatively small amount produced by this assessment, the Board recommends that this law be repealed and that the funding for this program be provided from general fund sources.”

The Legislature amended the law on February 27, 1979, exempting retailers, and those manufacturers and wholesalers employing fewer than three persons. In the face of continuing opposition to the tax, the Board again recommended repeal, and on September 28, 1979, Assembly Bill 66 amended the law to eliminate the assessment and allocated funding from the state general fund.

127 SB 650 (Chapter 1161), Statutes of 1977.

128 Annual Report of the State Board of Equalization, 1978-79.