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January 22, 2009

The Post-Standard
Letter to the Editor

Expanded bottle bill makes perfect sense

To the Editor:

Right now, the politicians in Albany are making difficult decisions about what programs should be cut or enacted to address the state's $15 billion budget gap. One decision should be easy. They should adopt the expanded bottle bill proposed by Gov. Paterson that adds a deposit to non-carbonated beverages such as water bottles and sports drinks and routes the unclaimed deposits to the state.

For 25 years the beverage companies have kept the unclaimed deposits - an estimated $144 million a year - because the law is silent regarding that issue. The governor's proposal would require the beverage companies to give this money back to the state to fund local environmental programs like parks and recycling.

Updating the bottle bill is a common sense move that will make our communities cleaner and healthier and provide needed revenue for the state. Polls show that more than 80 percent of New Yorkers feel that the unclaimed deposits should be transferred to the state to help New Yorkers, but for years the state Senate has blocked this measure.

In this time of "shared sacrifice," it would be indefensible for state lawmakers to raise our taxes and cut vital programs but continue to let the beverage companies keep these unclaimed nickels. Please contact your local senators - Valesky, Aubertine and DeFrancisco - and urge them to support the expanded bottle bill.

Brian Bishop



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