The effort to expand California's bottle bill has failed, doomed by the state's budgetary problems.
In vetoing Senate Bill 402 which had passed both the state Senate and Assembly with a 60 percent majority Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cited flaws including the proposal's failure to contain solutions for the long-term repair of the state's beverage-container recycling fund. That fund is facing a $200 million deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
SB 402 fails to make the hard choices that need to be made with regard to providing a lasting solution for the financial solvency of the recycling fund, Schwarz-enegger said in his Oct. 11 veto message.
The bill would have increased beverage container deposits from 5 cents to 10 cents on July 1 and extended deposits to 20-ounce containers. Current laws restrict deposits to bottles sized 24 ounces and larger.
In addition, SB 402 would have added roughly 1.5 billion bottles to the deposit program by including in the program all juices and other fruit drinks sold in paperboard and aseptic packaging; large bottles of fruit juice; and soy, nut, rice and other grain-based beverages, regardless of their container type.
The governor said the changes in SB 402 were merely a patch that would have only provided relief for one fiscal year.
He added that when legislators tackle bottle-bill legislation again, they need to prohibit additional loans from the state's beverage-container fund to the state's general fund and to require the general fund to repay past loans it had received from the beverage-container fund to help balance the state budget.
The advocacy group Californians Against Waste said Schwarz-enegger's veto could shut down as many as 1,200 supermarket-based recycling centers due to cuts made in state reimbursement fees to the groups handling container redemption and returns.
The veto also leaves California without state funds to resume recycling and market development incentives that were suspended July 1 because of the fiscal crisis.
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