December 30, 2008
How to Solve a State Budget Shortfall? Recycle More
Adding a nickel deposit to water, iced tea and other beverage bottles would generate revenue without raising taxes, and it would encourage recycling and discourage littering. What's to lose?
Last week from Governor Paterson announced that New York faces the largest budget deficit in the state's history. While no one person or business is responsible, we must now all work together to solve the current budget crisis. One obvious solution is for the legislature to finally pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill ("BBBB"), which has almost passed for many years, but this year must succeed. The BBBB will provide greater incentives to reduce litter and recycle more bottles and cans by requiring a five cent deposit on non-carbonated, single-serve containers, such as bottled water, iced tea and juice bottles.
Passing the BBBB will also provide an important source of revenue for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) from the unclaimed deposits, which are currently kept by the bottlers and beverage distributors. Out of necessity Governor Paterson's proposed budget cut nearly every area of state spending, including the EPF. In order to fund essential programs like farmland protection, water quality initiatives, and other essential environmental programs, New York needs the estimated $118 million a year in unclaimed deposits that the BBBB could deliver.
While the Governor's budget made aggressive cuts, it is a responsible response to the lower revenues available to support all of New York's needs. Passing the Bottle Bill as an important revenue initiative will not only reduce litter and promote recycling, but it will also provide funds for important statewide programs that protect our environment.
Please contact your state senator and assembly member and ask them to pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill this legislative session.
Manna Jo Greene
Environmental Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater