More idiocy in Illinois (don’t get me started on Blago)

August 15, 2007


Alderman proposes city tax on bottled water

Instead of “think of the children”, this time the justification is “think of the aquifers”:

most bottled water originates at public water supplies, like the Chicago Water Department, one elected official says the bottlers should pay for their already-purified raw material.

“Some of these companies are drawing down aquifers and nobody is watching,” said Ald. Cardenas.

Southwest Side Alderman George Cardenas has suggested a new city tax: 5 cents on a pint bottle and more on larger containers, up to 20 cents on the gallon jugs.

“These big corporations are using this commodity, this precious resource, bottling it and selling it back to us, perhaps at 50 percent profit,” said Ald. George Cardenas, 12th Ward.

and “think of the landfills”:

“There’s so much plastic. Just — not just bottled water but so much plastic in our lives. It’s amazing. And anytime you look there’s plastic all over,” the mayor said.

The real reason is of course, as always, “uh, we don’t have enough money and we need to tax you more and hey this sounds like I’m helping the world and raising money at the same time“.  

Chicago has a $217 million dollar budget shortfall and a $40 million dollar shortfall in the city’s water and sewer fund (Chicagoans aren’t drinking enough city water, it seems).

To show that I’m not just some “no new taxes no matter what” curmudgeon, here is what the Tax Foundation has to say (and I agree):

If the city needs to fill a budget gap, it should either raise taxes via a broad-based tax or cut spending. However, if bottled water does impose external costs on others that are not paid for by the consumers or producers of bottled water, then it should have a special tax, based on the damage done to the environment. (In other words, the tax would be a function of the bottle type.) Also, everything sold in such environment-harming containers should be subjected to a similar tax as well.

Is bottled water the new smoking?


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