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CPSA Perspective: The Bottle Bill Expansion Harm, Explained

Carroll J. Hughes, Executive Director, Connecticut Package Store Association

Carroll J. Hughes, Executive Director, Connecticut Package Store Association

By Carroll J. Hughes, Executive Director, CPSA

Despite killing the bottle bill expansion to wine and liquor bottles twice, the proposal is still alive. There are interest groups meeting every day to make sure it passes for their own financial gains. It was killed once in the Environment Committee, where 15 interest groups were in support of the expansion. The second time Connecticut Package Stores Association killed the expansion, as well as the mail order wine bill, was in early May, in the Governor’s tax package in the Finance Committee.

In lieu of the bottle bill expansion to wine and liquor bottles, and a fee of 10 cents in the Governor’s bill, the Finance Committee accepted a substitute revenue equal to the Governor’s bottom line in the form of an excise tax increase.

However, some interest groups are trying to bring the expansion back. Supporters of the bottle bill expansion to glass wine and liquor bottles at 10 cents per container want its passage for a few reasons.

Lobbyists from parts of the alcohol and other beverage industries oppose the excise tax increase, five-cent deposit fee increase on beer, soda and water bottles, and the expansion of the bottle bill to include tea, juice, sports and energy drinks. They are pushing inclusion of glass wine and liquor bottles to replace the revenue that would be gained by the five-cent increase proposed on beer, soda, water and the new items added to the existing bottle bill.

The makeup of those who sit in on these groups could be a study in conflicts
of interest.

The primary groups against you include interests who wish to protect or increase their financial gains in the marketplace. These include:

  • Those in support of the expansion to glass wine and liquor bottles, so they can sell each package store a “reverse vending machine” to process these containers for deposits, like the machines now in food stores
  • Municipal organizations that want to redistribute the bottle bill cost to you, now that glass is less profitable
  • Recycling waste collection hauler companies who will gain from not having to collect glass
  • Recycling processors who wish to gain more revenue
  • Others with similar profit agendas

We ask you to please call, email or talk with your legislators if they visit your stores as a customer. Introduce yourselves. Welcome them into your stores and tell them about the hard work you and your employees put into making your business successful. Speak with them about your opposition to any inclusion of glass wine and liquor bottles in any form in the bottle bill. This issue will be alive until the budget is passed or the legislative session adjourns on June 5.

Let us know about your experiences by calling our office at 860-346-7978 or email mdaley@ctpsa.com. CPSA values your input and always likes to hear from its members.

 

 

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