WASHINGTON — A bill that will give the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the authority to impose new fees on various consumer products and architectural paints was passed in the state legislature, despite protests from industry groups. The bill allows the imposition of a fee on manufacturers of architectural coatings if a manufacturer’s sales in the state would result in the emission of 250 tons or more of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) per year.

In addition to architectural coatings, products affected by the measure include aerosol coatings, caulks, sealants and adhesives. The measure is one of many actions being pursued by the state to address a severe budget shortfall that is projected at $25 billion to $35 billion. Details of the fee program, including how fee amounts are to be determined, would be developed by CARB following Gov. Gray Davis’s signing of the bill.

Industry sources say CARB will be required to conduct public meetings on the details of the fee program before the fees become effective. Those sources said the earliest the program could be finalized and approved by the CARB board would be late this year or early in 2004.