Today, the state of Connecticut got permission to grab the bottle deposit money that was held in accounts by distributors and drop $6 million into – what I presume to be – the state’s general fund.
The Hartford Courant has the story and my questions are below.
The state won a court battle Wednesday that paves the way for the collection of $6 million in unclaimed bottle deposits that had been held by beer and soda distributors.
The distributors had sought an injunction in state Superior Court in Hartford to block the retroactive seizure of the deposits that the state was seeking to collect.
“I am pleased that the court agreed with our argument and denied the bottlers’ injunction request, allowing the cash-strapped state to begin collecting about $6 million in unclaimed bottle deposits tomorrow and millions more in the future,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who personally argued the case last week in court. “The statute enabling collection of these funds is clearly valid and enforceable. These unclaimed deposits now sitting in distributor bank accounts truly belong to consumers and taxpayers, not to the companies.”
First, I agree with the attorney general, the unclaimed bottle deposits belong to the people, but the $6 million will not be given back to the people, it will be spent by the state on unknown projects.
So, when you pay 30 cents towards the deposit on a six-pack of Pepsi, the distributor takes that 30 cents and puts it into a – for a lack of a better term – escrow account.
When you bring back your bottles or cans, you get your 30 cents back and it is paid to you out of the escrow account.
Now if the state takes that money, are they going to be giving the 30 cents back to us for the deposit we paid or will the distributors have to pay out?
I’m a bit confused since I don’t care to look into the details, but it is obvious that the state’s bottle bill law is simply another tax. Some people – and the state is betting on this – don’t care to go through the hassel of bringing a bottle of Coke back to the store to get their nickel back.
The state – with no effort – gets the cash. Nice gig if you can get it.
I’ll close by asking the same question I did on March 24. What the heck are these things for?