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May 1, 2007

WNYC - New York Public Radio

Political Cost of Bottle Bill
by Amy Eddings

NEW YORK, NY May 01, 2007 —The battle to expand New York's bottle bill cost $20 million of political money, spending that the good government group, Common Cause, says needs reform. WNYC's Amy Eddings has more.

The Bigger Better Bottle Bill would have added water bottles and other containers to the state's 5 cent redemption program and would have directed unclaimed deposits into an environmental fund. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno opposed it and the bill died in budget negotiations.

The group Common Cause New York says Bruno's Senate Republican Campaign committee got the largest share of $2.7 million in campaign contributions from opponents like bottlers, and beverage distributors. A 3rd of those contributions was in the form of unlimited, unregulated "soft money."

In contrast, supporters gave $1.3 million to campaigns. $19,000 of that was soft money. Both sides spent $6 million on lobbying. Common Cause says the intense spending shows the need to ban soft money and reform the state's campaign finance laws. For WNYC, I'm Amy Eddings.


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