WNPR

Lawmakers Could Make That Bottle Of Wine A Little Bit More Expensive

Feb 6, 2018

Connecticut's legislative session kicks off this week -- and one item of discussion could be changes to the state's "bottle bill." For the past several years, legislators have considered changing the law charging consumers a 5-cent deposit on containers of beer, water, or soda.

Consumers can get that money back, but only if they return the container.

Which raises the question: what happens to that unclaimed five cents?

Since 2009, the state gets it and it's a lot of money: about $33.5 million in fiscal year 2016.

Now, that pile of money could get bigger.

In his proposed budget adjustments released Monday, Governor Dannel Malloy floated expanding the bottle bill to include wine and liquor. The idea came up during a gaggle with reporters.

“We have heretofore previously excluded alcohol, by and large, alcohol containers, with the exception of beer cans and bottles,” Malloy said. “We would apply it more broadly.”

The expansion would tack on a 25-cent deposit for a bottle of wine.

The governor also proposes expanding the 5-cent deposit to other beverages like fruit and energy drinks.

All told, the expansion is estimated to net the state an additional $20 million in consumer money.

But any changes to the now nearly 40-year-old bottle bill would have to go through the legislature, which convenes Wednesday.