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Florida tire dealers oppose state redirection of tire disposal funds

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The Florida Independent Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association (FITDRA) is fighting efforts by Florida's legislators to use tire disposal funds for water projects in "The Sunshine State."

"Florida's tire dealers collect tire fees from customers to pay for state tire disposal, recycling and education programs," says Jill Mondo, FITDRA executive director. "The government is now planning to use funds raised by dealers to fund water projects -- and our dealers are rightfully furious. Not only are tire dealers collecting money for purposes which have nothing to do with tires, but their customers are being told the fees are for tire programs and that is untrue."

Tire fees are normally dumped into the state's Solid Waste Management Fund. Legislators want to transfer $33.8 million from the fund into Florida's Surface Water Improvement Management program this year, according to Mondo.

Florida lawmakers also want to cut Solid Waste Management grants from $23 million -- last year's amount -- to $14 million. Grant reduction will lead to job losses and other problems within the state's tire industry, say FITDRA officials.

The association also opposes proposals that will only give grants to counties with populations of less than 100,000 people. "More used tires are generated in larger counties," Mondo says. "If these counties don't get the funds to clean up used tires, next year we're going to see a huge increase in illegal tire dumping."

FITDRA's annual convention will be held May 18-20 at the Hilton in Clearwater Beach, Fla., and offers a full slate of seminars.

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