Saturday, May 30, 2009

No Deposits, No Returns!

David Paterson's having flash backs to the old Flip Wilson refrain; "Here comes the judge, here comes the judge!" That's because federal Judge Thomas Griesa has canned the governor's pet bottle bill expansion with an injunction that runs, get this, until April of next year. As the NYACS website reports: "In a breathtaking development, the same federal judge who on Wednesday May 27 put the bottle bill UPC code and effective date on hold, today (May 29) issued a broader injunction barring enforcement of the entire expanded bottle bill statute until next April."

Yes, the entire measure-which means that we're all not left doing the limbo, but must go back to the drawing board; this time without any NY only UPC regulation: "Judge Griesa’s preliminary injunction on Wednesday applied only to a few specific sections of the bottle bill expansion law, leaving the remaining parts such as signage and handling fees to take effect on June 1st as scheduled. But today's follow-up injunction was all-encompassing, freezing everything that was in the new law."

So now the ball's is back in the legislative court; but this time any bottle law changes must go through more normal-not budget cloaked-channels. Which means that the outcome here is less than certain. At the same time, however, the judge's ruling leaves the state with a more than $200 million budget shortfall, since the delay impacts more than one budget cycle.

Now, just how's the state going to make up the shortfall? Well, we might have a good alternative for the newly impoverished-the Morelle Wine Revitalization Act. As the Times Union tells us: "It helps the wineries, helps the wine business in New York state," Morelle said. The initiative is expected to raise more than $100 million the first year by selling supermarkets licenses." Or, perhaps even more than that.

So with one revenue source poured out down the drain, doesn't it make sense to lift a glass to a good alternative? It sure does to us.