Tax on port containers

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, May 4, 2007

Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) is again carrying a port container tax bill, SB 974.  This year’s version is similar, but not identical to, the bill vetoed by the Governor last year. In this year’s version, the Port of Oakland is included (along with Long Beach and Los Angeles) and the ports would collect the fee directly from the cargo owner (both inbound and outbound) rather than paying the fee themselves.  

CMTA agrees that port expansion is vital for the California economy and that current and future environmental issues must be addressed to allow for this growth. However, we oppose a $60 per container tax as the solution.  This approach likely runs afoul of international law, federal law and even state law (it does not qualify as a Sinclair regulatory fee, but is rather a tax that requires a super majority vote for passage).  There are other approaches to achieve healthy port development that should be pursued by the state and local governments.

The bill will probably make it to the Governor’s desk.  He needs to hear that you are opposed to imposing these tax-like fees on business to solve the state’s problems. Please join the long list of companies and associations opposed to SB 974. If you are interested in signing onto a coalition letter, please contact Mike Rogge at


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