Gov. Deval Patrick supports a ballot question expanding the bottle deposit law to water and sports drinks, an idea he has repeatedly filed during his seven-plus years as governor, but which has never cleared the Legislature.
On Thursday, Patrick told a story during a WGBH radio interview that shed some light on the dynamics at work behind the proposal.
Before he became governor, Patrick worked for Coca-Cola. He said that when he filed his bottle bill proposal one year, an old colleague from his days in the industry, but not from Coca-Cola, called him and asked what he was up to.
Patrick said he told him, "I've done some homework. I understand it better."
The governor said the colleague laughed and predicted Patrick would not be successful with his proposal "because we have more money than you do."
Opponents of the ballot question, in a campaign fueled by bottling industry funding, have spent heavily on ads promoting additional consumer costs associated with an expanded bottle bill and touting curbside recycling as a better alternative. They came under fire on Thursday, however, when it was revealed they paid a Tufts professor $7,000 prior to that professor endorsing a study which was critical of the movement to expand deposits to include non-carbonated beverage containers in the commonwealth.
Recent polls show voters are leaning against Question 2, which is on the ballot Nov. 4.