- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Deval Patrick is urging passage of a ballot question that would expand the state’s beverage deposit law to cover bottled water and other non-carbonated drinks.

Patrick joined backers of the measure - Question 2 on the November ballot - at an event Wednesday on Boston Common.

The governor’s support is not surprising given his unsuccessful attempts to include an expansion of the current law in the state’s annual budget.

Unredeemed nickel deposits on beverage containers currently go to the state treasury. If the question passes, unclaimed deposits will go to an environmental fund.

Environmental groups say passage of the ballot question will help reduce litter in Massachusetts. But critics say it will hurt small businesses that will be forced to handle more bottle returns, and that curbside recycling programs are a better option.

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