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December 29, 2008

The Daily News
Letter to the Editor

Bottle bill can help budget and Earth

Editor:

We all heard last week from Governor Paterson that this is the largest budget deficit in the state's history. He told us no one person is to blame, but we in government are all responsible to solve the current crisis. One way citizens can help the budget is to support the Bigger Better Bottle Bill.

The BBBB is not a new concept by any stretch. For years, we have been touting its litter reducing incentives by requiring a five cent deposit on non-carbonated, single-serve containers, such as bottled water, iced tea and juice bottles.

But more than just recycling, the BBBB is a potential and significant revenue source for the popular Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

In the governor's budget, almost no area of state spending was exempt from reductions, including the EPF. In order to fund essential programs like farmland protection, water quality initiatives on farms, and other important environmental programs, we need the estimated $118 million in unclaimed deposits that the BBBB could deliver. Those funds are currently kept by bottlers and beverage distributors, yet clearly they would better serve the public as part of the EPF.

Governor Paterson has shown great leadership in his budget by putting forth an aggressive, yet responsible budget. Now it is time to do our part by supporting this revenue initiative that would not only help protect our environment by reducing litter, but also help fund statewide programs that protect our environment.

There are many hard choices to make in relation to our state budget; this is not one of them.

Please support the Bigger Better Bottle Bill by contacting your state senator and member of the assembly.

Patrick Hooker
New York State
Agriculture
Commissioner
Albany

http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/articles/2008/12/29/opinion/letters/4996575.txt


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