By Don Brenner
The New York State financial crisis weighs heavy on the shoulders of students attending any SUNY school. The price increase of $310 per semester for each undergraduate student, and $490 per semester for graduate students, is supposed to cover a portion of the $210 million budget cuts all across SUNY campuses. Students are now paying more money for less services. Students did not put New York State into a budget crisis, so why should they have to pay for it? There are other ways New York State can get money for education programs so the students do not suffer.
So where can the state get $210 million? That seems like an extreme amount of money, and there is no way the current budget can be balanced to give this money to schools. There is a simple way to give students the facilities and educational opportunities they deserve, though. It all has to do with plastic – plastic bottles. If New York State were to pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, the state would collect at least $140 million every year from beverage companies who would be forced to claim their deposits. Currently beverage companies are allowed to keep any money they receive from unclaimed bottles and cans. These unclaimed bottle deposits are paid by the tax payers, so they should benefit the tax payers.
The Bigger Better Bottle Bill would also put a five cent deposit tax on water bottles, sports drink bottles, and iced tea bottles. Even the state only got one cent per bottle (an extremely small amount) they would collect millions in tax revenue. If the bill is passed, it is projected to collect 2.6 billion – yes, billion – more bottles per year. Multiply 2.6 billion times one cent per bottle, and the state gets $26 million more. Odds are though, this number would be at least doubled or tripled. Even if it weren’t, the state would get $166 million, which would put a huge dent in the $210 million of budget cuts towards SUNY schools. By doing this, tuition would only have to be raised $50 or so. This is a lot less than the current tuition hike being forced upon students.
By Don Brenner