A group of Weber State College students and Democratic challenger Kenley Brunsdale have asked Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, to sponsor a bill designed to encourage the use of recycled products.
The bill would create federal tax credits for individuals and corporations who purchase goods manufactured with at least 30 percent recycled material.Brunsdale said the demand for recycled goods has not kept up with the supply of recyclable material, such as aluminum cans and paper, which are piling up as Americans become more conscious of conserving resources.
"The establishment of this kind of incentive would break the logjam and let the market work to build recycling," said Brunsdale, who has made the recycling tax credit his sixth bill in his campaign against Hansen.
Every week for the past two months, Brunsdale has sent Hansen a new bill to sponsor. The bills have dealt with everything from stopping the proposed Thousand Springs Power Plant in northeast Nevada to exchanging federal mining land for state land in order to boost education funding.
"We expect (Brunsdale) to keep submitting bills," said Peter Jenks, Hansen's campaign manager. "If that makes him happy, that's fine."
Brunsdale said the bills are intended to show voters what he sees are the issues in the 1st Congressional District and to make Hansen respond to issues rather than resort to name-calling.
Jenks said there are a number of recycling bills already before Congress, many of which provide incentives including tax credits. "So, obviously, Brunsdale's legislation is redundant."
Hansen has referred to Brunsdale as a radical environmentalist cut from the same cloth as Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, of the 2nd Congressional District, for whom Brunsdale served as an aide.
Regarding conservation, however, Brunsdale said Hansen is the "liberal."
"Jim Hansen is too liberal when it comes to our natural resources." Quoting the League of Conservation Voters, Brunsdale said Hansen had the 5th worst voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives on environmental issues.
"Nothing is more conservative than recycling," Brunsdale said. "Throughout our state, recycling programs are growing and Utahns are proud."
The proposed recycling bill would provide a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the expense paid during the taxable year for products containing recycled materials. There are additional tax credits if the recycled products are composed of more than 30 percent recycled material.
Brunsdale said the proposed bill was drawn up by himself, concerned Weber State students, an economist and the owner of a Salt Lake recycling company.