Calling the proposal “silly,” a House panel killed a bill that would have put a $1 tax on the purchase of new tires to fund noxious weed control.
“I have a problem with the leap from weeds to tires,” Rep. Celia Gould, R-Buhl, said.
Rep. Wayne Meyer, R-Rathdrum, argued that his proposal made sense because tires spread noxious weeds.
“There’s a lot of vectors for the spread of noxious weeds,” the grass-seed farmer told the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. “How many of you have run over a Russian thistle? Well, you’re driving that thing down the road and spreading more seed.”
The $1 tire tax would have generated about $1.2 million that the state Department of Health and Welfare would use to fight noxious weeds throughout Idaho.
The bill would have revived a $1 tire tax that expired last year. That cash was spent cleaning up old tire dumps.
Rep. Frank Bruneel, R-Lewiston, said farmers should pay for weed control because their vehicles spread more weeds than the tires of urban residents.
“I have crawled under and around as many cars in this state as anyone in the room,” the owner of Bruneel Tires said. “And let me tell you, there isn’t much hanging on them.”
Meyer said the tax would have expired in five years. During that time he planned to find other funding sources.
Bruneel told Meyer he should find alternatives now, instead of proposing a tire tax.
Rep. Dave Bivens, R-Meridian, reminded Bruneel that he represents Nez Perce County, which has the largest infestation of Yellow Star Thistle in the state.