Mill Tax Dispersement
California assesses a fee on all pesticide sales at the point of first sale into the state. A “mill” is equal to one-tenth of a cent. This assessment is 21 mills, or 2.1 cents per dollar of sales. People often think that pesticide means insecticide, but pesticide not only refers to insecticides but to many other kinds of chemicals A pesticide is any substance designed to control, repel, destroy or attract a pest. A pest can be an insect or other invertebrate like a spider or tick, a disease, a weed or a vertebrate pest, like a mouse or a gopher. Both conventional and organic farmers use pesticides to control pests that can destroy or damage food, other crops, and livestock, such as insects, plant diseases, and weeds. Health agencies use pesticides to combat insects and other organisms known to carry disease, like the West Nile Virus or Malaria. Hospitals use pesticides to destroy bacteria and viruses on floors and equipment. Many household products are pesticides, including insect sprays, mosquito repellents, rat bait, and kitchen and bathroom disinfectants, products that kill mold and mildew, and most lawn and garden and swimming pool chemicals. Most people also use products to control fleas and ticks on their dogs and cats.
Mill tax revenues support the state’s pesticide regulatory program. The mill assessment program is a self-assessment system. Each quarter, the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) mails reporting forms to pesticide registrants, licensed pest control dealers and licensed pesticide brokers. Completed forms are due to DPR within 30 days of the end of the quarter. The mill assessment collected by the state is shared with County Commissioners according to a formula that takes into account the size and complexity of the program at the local level compared to other California counties. The mill assessment fees support about two thirds of the cost of the regulatory program in California. The remainder of the funding comes from registration and licensing fees and other special funds. The Pesticide Use Enforcement program in Ventura County is almost entirely supported by the mill tax dispersed from the Department of Pesticide Regulation.
The Product Compliance Program at the DPR conducts audits of pesticide sellers throughout the U.S. to ensure that they are paying sufficient assessment on their sales. The law requires that those who are subject to the mill assessment maintain records and be subject to audit by the DPR. DPR auditors review product sales into California to determine proper registration, to verity sales, and to document that mill assessments were paid as required. If violations are found the seller must pay any monies owed and in addition, they are subject to civil penalties of up to $5000 for each sale of an unregistered or mislabeled pesticide.