Statement on Signing the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986

 

October 17, 1986

 

I have today signed the reauthorization legislation of the Superfund program. My overriding concern has been the continuation of our progress to clean up hazardous waste sites that endanger the health and safety of our citizens. All Americans can expect no less from their government. While I approve of the programmatic changes in the Superfund legislation, I have expressed concern in the past regarding the level of funding and the funding mechanism itself. I am assured by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency that the Agency will spend only what is necessary to accomplish the objectives of the program and no more.

 

I have always been opposed to any broad-based tax as a new revenue source for Superfund; therefore, I have carefully studied the taxing provisions of the current Superfund legislation. First, it is not a general tax on all American businesses, but affects only larger corporations that have to pay the alternative minimum tax -- that is, corporations who, because of special deductions, exemptions, etc., do not pay the normal tax rate which under the tax reform act will be 34 percent. Additionally, this tax applies only to corporations with an alternative minimum tax of $2 million and over, and this tax is deductible from regular taxable income. Moreover, this environmental tax is earmarked only for Superfund and goes into a trust fund set up for that purpose alone. It is not a tax that can be used for general revenue purposes.

 

I have been assured by Senator Dole, Senator Stafford, and 48 other Senators that they will support my vetoing of either a general purpose broad-based tax or an increase in the amount of this special purpose tax to provide funding for the Superfund program. It is important that the Federal Government continue the work of environmental cleanup in a manner consistent with our overall objectives. I believe that this legislation, although at some variance with our original proposals, meets these objectives.

 

Note: H.R. 2005, approved October 17, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 499.