Friday, October 2, 2009

Soon There'll Be a Surcharge on the Tap

Yesterday being the first of October and the beginning of the Federal Government's fiscal year and the effective date of many new state laws, and reinterpretations and applications of old ones, I was surprised to be living in such a "green" state.

Not necessarily green as in energy and resource conservation, but moolah. The Land of Steady Habits, as you may have read, is on its uppers. Money can't breathe and money can't see but when I pull out a fiver, people listen to me. We've been shouting around here in recent months to beat the band and no one's been listening, but in all the hubbub our legislators and Governor came up with a clever idea.

Like where you live, Connecticut has had a deposit on cans and bottles of soda and beer for about two decades. Saves space in landfills, helps conserve materials, gives kids something to do on weekends as they patrol the highways and by-ways picking up the discards and redeeming them to cover those margin trades that didn't quite work out the way Uncle Bernie told us they would.

Here's the interesting thing: as you might imagine, all the cans and bottles by the side of the road that are getting picked up for pocket change have already had the deposit paid. If they're never redeemed, there's a pile of nickels someplace sitting all by its lonesome. Well, not anymore. What's mine is mine, but what's yours is negotiable. Well played, Governor M. Jodi and bravo, ladies and gentlemen of both Houses of our State Government.

But why settle for a taste when you can have a treatment. The recently passed (finally!) Connecticut budget needed all the help it could get and someone reached into the old bag of tricks and instead of the missing card or rabbit, pulled out a bottle of water. Spending other people's money is hard work. You can work up a thirst sitting in Hartford and that's when it must have struck like lightning.

All those water bottles people are sticking in their municipal recycling bins--there must be some that aren't, right? Sure-just look at the roads and curbs. Where we see trash, our state government saw opportunity. So effective yesterday, bottled water (even the flavored type for all those so inclined) has a nickel deposit attached to it.

Now you may think you just saw the price of your bottled water raised--think of it as enhanced, because that's what the legislators regard it as. And if you don't recycle those water bottles and reclaim your deposit, that's okay too. As a matter of fact, The Constitution State is secretly, and not so secretly, not only hoping you don't redeem the deposit, it's counting on it. That's how bad things have gotten.

You look pale-please, have a seat. Let me get you some water. Do you have change?
-bill kenny

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