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October 10, 2009

Contra Costa Times

California legislators must stop taking our money

California, once again, is maneuvering to pass through yet another hidden tax. By having our local grocers act as tax collectors, our lawmakers are hoping no one will notice as they suck millions of dollars out of our pockets and consequently out of the state economy.

To add insult to injury, this is being proposed under what sounds like a very worthy cause "... the state's "recycling program."

How are they doing this? By proposing a massive extension of the deposits collected on drink containers. This is no joke. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) the state has already taken $100 million from the recycling fund in 2009 and applied it to our budget woes.

Since 2002 the state has taken more than $450 million.

The recycling program makes it so inconvenient to return your containers for your deposit most people just recycle them on their own. Those who take them to the extremely inconvenient recycling centers do not even get back what they paid "... the refunds are determined by weight, not by the number of containers. The original tax (deposit) is based on a per-container basis, not by the weight of the container.

But that's how it is today. Here's the outrage. Our representatives have proposed expanding the container deposit to small foil juice pouches (e.g., Capri Sun), 8-ounce juice boxes, juice jugs bigger than 46-ounces, half gallon cartons (excluding milk) and drink containers made from almond, soy, rice and other grains.

In addition to that, they propose to double the deposit on 20-ounce containers from a nickel to a dime. NACS estimates that there are 3.6 billion 20-ounce bottles in circulation in California annually. That increase alone will take an additional $180 million out of our pockets and turn it over to the states' discretion. In total, the state's Department of Conservation estimates that consumers will pay $295 million more per year on beverage container deposits.

This expansion of the states "recycling program" has nothing to do with the environment or the do-gooder nature of our representatives. No, the only "green" it represents is a way to get more money from the residents of California and into the hands of the state legislators.

Anderson is a resident of Danville.


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