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December 13, 2010

TIA continues to camp out on Capitol Hill

The year may be winding down quickly, but the Tire Industry Association (TIA) remains busy, especially on the legislative front.

Here is a list of the legislative/regulatory issues with which TIA is actively involved. The quotes are from TIA.

1. Tariffs on Chinese consumer tire imports. TIA came out strongly opposed to the tariffs. Almost as soon as they were implemented, TIA became very active in lobbying Congress and the International Trade Commission (ITC) to gather the pertinent data necessary for an accurate assessment of the tariffs on job creation in the tire manufacturing market.

"We have seen a great deal of anecdotal evidence about tire price increases and loss of jobs in the retail market, as well as the ITC themselves reporting that most of the Chinese passenger tire export losses quickly transferred to other Asian countries. The ITC has so far resisted calls to gather this data."

2. H.R. 2057, the Motor Vehicle Owner’s Right to Repair Act. TIA, along with the Automotive aftermarket Industry Association and the Coalition for Repair Equality, have lobbied for, and championed this legislation for several years now. It states that vehicle owners and independent repair garages have the right of guarantied access to the tools, equipment and information necessary to diagnose problems in vehicles, and to service, maintain and repair them. This bill has been strongly opposed by automobile manufacturers and automobile dealers.

Massachusetts and New Jersey have had some success in moving the bill, but they have not been able to get it passed yet. TIA will again be a sponsor of the Aftermarket Legislative Fly-in March 23-24, 2011, to garner support for the federal Right to Repair effort.

3. Healthcare reform. TIA, as with the majority of small business associations, was "extremely disappointed" with the final healthcare reform bill.

"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) largely ignores the calls for help with the skyrocketing cost of healthcare insurance to the small business community. The 1099 reporting provision will be a tremendous burden on our smaller members, and TIA has been very actively lobbying to get that repealed. From our perspective, there has been no real reform, and the lofty goals of the legislation are still speculative, with the burden of cost on the backs of small business."

4. Regulatory issues. In terms of regulation, TIA interacts with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on issues such as the regulation of lead wheel weights and the recycling of tires, and with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on any concern about tires that relate to safety from tire registration to the TREAD Act. "We maintain a good working relationship with both agencies."

5. Cap and Trade. TIA says at this juncture, the so-called "Cap and Trade" legislation is not going to have any movement, particularly since the Republicans are in control of the House of representatives.

"One of our chief concerns with the earlier legislative attempts were the projections determined by the U.S. Energy Information Administration about $5.00 a gallon gasoline and diesel fuel, as well as likely increases in the cost of energy generation. While there appears to be consensus that our country needs to take definitive action, it is not a given that this consensus will translate into bi-partisan legislation."

6. Union card check. TIA has consistently opposed any attempts to pass this legislation.

"We believe that the current system in place, under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), is a mutually beneficial compromise as to how to consider the unionization of a business. TIA will continue to oppose any effort at which an organizing campaign can collect signed authorization cards or a petition from more than 50% of the employees and eliminate the secret ballot election."

For more information on TIA, visit www.tireindustry.org.

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