Chicago is evaluating a tax of 10 to 25 cents on the cost of every bottle of water sold in the state, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Currently, Chicago citizens are preparing for post-election tax increases to close a $217 million budget gap, but that hasn’t stopped the city from evaluating the added money bottled water taxes could bring.
“People enjoy jogging or driving with a bottle of water. There’s a cost associated with this behavior. You have to pay for it,” said Ald. George Cardenas. He added that there’s a nearly $40 million shortfall in the city’s water and sewer funds, in part because of a decline in water usage. He blames the decline on the constantly increasing popularity of bottled water.
Wendy Abrams, a spokeswoman for the city’s Office of Budget and Management, told the Sun-Times that the mayor’s budget team will “work with aldermen on any new idea aimed at generating new revenue for the city.” But raising taxes remains a “last resort.”
“Bottled water is a safe, healthy, convenient beverage that consumers find refreshing,” Joseph Doss, president of the International Bottled Water Association told the newspaper. “Any action that would discourage consumers from drinking this healthy beverage is a bad idea and not in the public interest.”
Doss added the bottled vs. tap argument is inconclusive since 75% of bottled water consumers drink both.