June 1st, 2009
Sheila Rivers, 585-749-0625 (cell)
*STATEMENT REGARDING BOTTLE BILL POSTPONEMENT*
BACRA members have been eagerly anticipating the start date of the Bigger
Better Bottle Bill that was signed into law this April. This law was
supposed to go into effect today. Many owners have been hanging on by a
thread trying to make it until today. Several were unable to do so and
closed their doors within the past two months. Others limited their hours
and asked creditors to wait until this month to be paid.
Last Friday Judge Griesa’s ruling to issue a total injunction effectively
stopping the bottle bill updates has put many more redemption centers and
jobs on the line. If this order is allowed to stand, by next April there
will be very few redemption centers left to handle the load.
Redemption centers depend solely on the income we receive for each deposit
container we redeem. That is now 2 cents. There has been no increase in
eleven years in spite of the fact that our costs have sky rocketed. Today
we were to finally see some relief as the handling fee was to be increased
to 3.5 cents.
While the increase has been criticized as excessive it needs to be put into
perspective. This increase is long overdue! When the law was written minimum
wage was $3.35 per hour. Increasing the handling fee to 3-1/2 cents only
keeps us level with inflation; it’s not a bailout or a handout. We are only
asking to be kept up with current costs.
What other business has not been able to raise their prices for eleven
years? We don’t know of any. Redemption centers cannot survive any delay
or reduction in the planned increase. Many of us have gone into debt
believing relief was in sight. We trusted our legislators to stand by the
bill they passed. Now three days before we were to get some relief, a judge
has told us that cannot be. We call on our elected representatives to fix
this now. Our families, our employees and our customers are counting on you
to do the right thing. Please do not let us down.
Prepared by Sheila Rivers, Chairperson of BACRA, on behalf of all redemption
centers in New York State.