California Gov. Pete Wilson plans to veto legislation that would renew the state's complicated bottle-redemption system.
Wilson's veto means plastic companies in the state would have to dip into their pocketbooks for an additional $12.5 million to administer the existing bottle bill. It also would nullify a nickel deposit that the Legislature put on 20-ounce bottles.
Democrats and the environmental group Californians Against Waste tried to attach a broad expansion of the bottle bill to the renewal legislation, but that effort failed. Instead, a last-minute compromise raised deposits on 20-ounce containers from 2.5 cents to a nickel. That measure passed the Legislature by a wide margin on Aug. 31.
Plastics companies are upset by the higher deposit, said Ralph Simoni, a lobbyist for Plastics Recycling Corp. of California, a Sonoma-based group of bottle producers.
``It's a direct attack on the 20-ounce soft drink PET package,'' Simoni said. ``There is no other 20-ounce package.''
Simoni called the deposit hike a $12 million tax increase.
PRCC members tax themselves $20 million a year to pay for part of the state's recycling program. If Wilson vetoes the bill, PRCC members will have to pony up another $12.5 million next year, because they no longer will be able to offset their costs with unredeemed bottle-deposit funds, Simoni said.
``To sum up our position, it's pick your poison,'' Simoni said.
A Wilson spokeswoman said Wilson will reject the bill: ``The governor feels it is a tax increase, there are no reforms and it benefits only a couple of narrow special interests.''