Letter to the Editor

Asbestos bill has dire consequences

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

To the editor:

The U.S. Senate is set to debate a far-reaching piece of legislation that will have a dampening effect on hundred of businesses across our state. I refer to the pending Specter-Leahy bill (Senate Bill 852) that would force businesses to pay into an asbestos trust fund. Unfortunately, this business penalty is not tied to its percentage of liability.

Based upon prior asbestos expenditures, many businesses may find their obligation to be $16 million a year for 30 years. I am concerned that a number of smaller companies who rely on insurance to defend their claim may not be aware of this bill's dire and unintended consequences. Many businesses simply will be unable to make these kinds of payments and will seek bankruptcy. I am urging our senators to defeat the Specter-Leahy bill. Go back to the drawing board and find a solution that is fair, equitable and based upon sound business practices.