“Governor Schwarzenegger, Put The Money Back!”

Orange County Conservation Corps (OCCC) is demanding that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger put the money back that he and others borrowed from California’s Recycling Funds and put into the General Funds as a “loan”.

California’s recycling funds have been completely drained. Legislation to rectify this situation, SB 402, was passed by the California state legislature, and would have restored over $131 million in cuts to funding for recycling programs that organizations like OCCC rely upon, but the bill was recently vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. The Orange County Conservation Corps is calling on its supporters to contact the Governor and legislators to request that the State restore California’s Recycling Funds.

The Governor’s own veto message surprisingly agrees that the fix to this situation would be to put the money back:
“Additionally, subsequent legislation on this issue should contain provisions that prohibit any additional loans to the General Fund in the future and require the General Fund to repay past loans from this program.”

There is almost a half of a billion dollars that is still owed to the Recycling Fund, over half of that amount from Governor Schwarzenegger alone. The lack of repayment has resulted in the below partial list of negative impacts:

Impacts to Orange County Conservation Corps:

  • 100% reduction in OCCC recycling funding, which accounts for half of OCCC’s annual budget.
  • Eliminated safe havens for at risk young adults (high school dropouts, gang involved youth, drug addicts) seeking a neutral sanctuary while attempting to leave a destructive lifestyle behind.
  • Eliminated 22 paying, job training positions for disadvantaged youth in O.C.
  • Laid off 7 teachers, green job trainers, and other support staff.
  • Eliminated recycling service for over 50% of OCCC sponsors, including small California businesses and schools; most of whom will now need to pay for outside disposal services.

Impacts to California Local Conservation Corps:

  • Put 300 at risk youth between 18-25 years old back on the streets in California neighborhoods.
  • Laid off 75 teachers, green job trainers, and other support staff.
  • Eliminated recycling service at nearly 800 small California businesses
  • Eliminated recycling programs at dozens of California schools.
  • Cancelled expansion of green job training programs in underserved counties throughout the California.

Additional Impacts to California Recycling:

  • Cancelled recycling services for low income communities, multi family
    housing units, and high litter areas.
  • California green jobs training programs lost over $3.3 million in leveraged funding.
  • Eliminated litter reduction education and outreach.
  • Eliminated recycling and litter pickup at California’s large venues and special events, such as community parades, college and pro football games, and fairs.
  • Cut funding for California’s recycling program and allowed billions of bottles and cans to be land filled or littered in our streets, parks, and oceans rather than recycled.
  • The likely closure of up to 1,100 supermarket based recycling centers.
  • Elimination of up to 5,000 recycling related green jobs.
  • Elimination of more than $85 million in funding for local government, nonprofit, and private sector recycling and litter cleanup activities.
  • An increase of roughly $100 million in costs for beverages.

“To clarify, this bill would not have been critical to the survival of recycling in California if the money had not been taken from the recycling fund (and put into the General Fund) in the first place. They call it a “loan”, but it has yet to be paid back, and the people of California (who contribute to this fund through deposits on bottles and cans) have seen no terms to do so.” said Max Carter, Executive Director at OCCC.

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