On Tuesday, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) provided the Joint budget Conference committee with a critical analysis of the Administration’s proposal to eliminate virtually all Bottle Bill expenditures, along with a set of alternative recommendations that generally protect existing recycling programs and funding.
The LAO noted that the program's fiscal imbalance is due in part to $518 million in loans to the General Fund and suggested it would be inapropriate to make such major policy changes to the Bottle Bill, like removing funding for local governments for curbside recycling, without legislative review. The LAO noted that the Department of Conservation already has the authority to proportionally reduce expenditures.
As an Alternative, the LAO recommended:
- A one-year increase in the percent share of processing payments paid by beverage recycling manufacturers from 65% to 100% and a one-year cap on handling fee payments at $40 million.
- To direct DOC to use its existing authority to reduce spending in other non-redemption payment areas, with potential direction from the legislature.
- Reduce administrative spending in DOC by $1.1 million and 10 positions and rescind 4 positions for the implementation of SB 1357 (Padilla, 2008).
- Direct DOC to return with a policy proposal for permanent changes to the beverage container recycling program to retain a positive fund balance in the fund.