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By Tim Hunt

Legislature moving ahead to add recycling fee to wine and spirits

Uploaded: Jul 28, 2022

The Legislature returns to Sacramento next week for the final month of the session.
Among the bills on the agenda is SB 1013 carried by Senate leader Toni Atkins of San Diego. It would require a 10-cent deposit on wine and spirits bottles that to date have been exempt from the recycling fee. The fee applies to bottled water, soft drinks, beer and other refreshments. The wine and spirits industries have had enough clout in Sacramento, but the winds have shifted and key industry groups are now supporting the charge.
That change in opinion is coupled with the fact that it is estimated that most of the 13 million bottles of wine and spirits that consumers buy annually end up in the landfill.
Should the measure become law, it will continue the pain in the you know what for residents of Pleasanton and Dublin. Pleasanton Garbage operated a recycling buyback center at its transfer station in Pleasanton for decades before closing it when the pandemic shutdown hit. Company owners decided not to re-open it.
That means for Pleasanton residents, they have a choice of showing up at a retailer selling beverages and demanding they recycle their cans/bottles (good luck although they’re supposed to do that or pay a fee) or traipsing to one of two establishments in Livermore that are in the recycling business. I’ve opted for that choice and the center on Old First Street functions efficiently during the week—it’s just way less convenient than dropping them at the transfer station before or after church on a Sunday.
There was a time when I’d save wine boxes and take those to the transfer station as well, but we gave that up when the blue trash bins came to our driveway and we could toss them there knowing a worker would sort through them.
So, stay tuned for a well-intentioned bill to become a pain in the rear for those who don’t like giving money away to the inefficient state recycling organization.

You might recall Tuesday that I wrote about how joined at the proverbial hip the California Democrat party is with various labor unions. Long-time Sacramento columnist Dan Walter wrote in his July 25 column for CalMatters just how tight those ties are. As Walters has pointed out on numerous occasions, the Legislature and various governors have become adept in a ugly way of slipping major policy changes into the budget trailer bills that supposedly implement provisions of the spending plan. Doing so bypasses the normal checks-and-balances and avoids daylight of the media.
The latest shenanigan favors unions by declaring the intention to allow union members who do not itemize deductions to eliminate the cost of their union dues by providing a refundable tax credit. Tax credit means a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax owed. That’s shameful, but keeping in what Democrats have been trying to do for unions whose membership has been shrinking other than in the public sector. The legislators have been trying to offset a 2018 Supreme Court decision that banned state laws that forced non-members to pay union dues.
As Walters noted, a portion of those dues—a large portion—ends up in the campaign war chests of Democrats.