Tax on Bottled Water

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, FL - Some lawmakers in Florida want to add a surcharge onto every bottle of water consumers buy.

Legislation filed in Tallahassee would tack a 6 percent surcharge onto every bottle of water purchased. The goal of the surcharge is to protect Florida's water supply.

Most water purchased in Florida is pulled directly from local springs, which environmentalists said crushes the long-term health of the surrounding ecosystems.

Spring water is key to maintaining the levels of rivers, lakes and streams. When its extracted, Julie Wraithmell, a spokeswoman with Audubon of Florida, said everyone suffers.

The money raised by the surcharge would go directly toward restoring the springs areas, which Wraithmell said is only fair.

"There isn't any kind of a severance fee or a charge per gallon extracted, so how do we mitigate for the impacts on our state from this really growing use?" she said.

Lawmakers have already tried to enact legislation for this purpose, by slapping water companies with user fees, but the proposed legislation went nowhere.

So environmentalists like Charles Pattison said the next best option is to charge the consumer.

"Those are people that, typically, a few pennies aren't going to make any difference one way or the other," said Pattison, who is with 1000 Friends of Florida. "I think most people would be willing to protect the environment through that type of relationship."

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the proposal. Waris Obitayo is a college student who is on a tight budget, but he said one luxury he refuses to forego is bottled water.

"Water should be affordable to everybody, so i don't think the tax should come in," he said.

However, he said that even if it passes, he'll continue to buy bottled water.

"Bottled water is still very important, so I think i'll take the deal like that," Obitayo said.

The surcharge would only apply to bottles containing less than a gallon of water.

The idea is likely to be killed, though, especially because Governor-elect Rick Scott, along with leaders in the state legislature, have vowed not to raise taxes, and many of them say a surcharge is really a tax.

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  • by Anonymous on Dec 1, 2010 at 07:32 AM
    : Anonymous on Nov 30, 2010 at 03:41 PM So I am assuming that you keep up with the boil water notices in all the cities where they put tap water into the bottles for you. Where do yo think bottled water comes from? Also, my well is 350 ft deep, and the water comes from the same aquifer that feeds the springs around here. I have had it tested repeatedly and it is safe. Stop listening to the bottled water commercials and buy yourself a filter for your home if you are so concerned. 90% of bottled water is filtered tap water. Anyone that even considers bathing in bottled water is a nut case, get a hold of yourself. This is a good tax that will limit the wasteful and useless convenience of bottled water.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 30, 2010 at 04:32 PM
    man oh man, so what would you have us do to get decent water? Have they stopped giving us decent water so we have to use bottled water, and then we have to have yet another tax! I got my phone bill and comcast bill. Phone bill went up 17/cents (TAX), Comcast went up 84/center (TAX). Get ready because what they just passed today for the Food and Drug Admin is going to rocket our food out of sight - very soon. Where does it end? We will have no money left to live on very very shortly.
  • by man oh man on Nov 30, 2010 at 02:15 PM
    Reading these comments just confirms my belief that the World is made up of mostly idiots. The tax is not on water, the tax is on water in PLASTIC BOTTLES. PLASTIC BOTTLES people - that is the key.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 30, 2010 at 01:25 PM
    Right now - as I write this - there's a boil water notice for Springfield, FL (Panama City). They will lift it when satisfactory bacteriological test results are received. May take 3 days. Advising residents and BUSINESSes to bring water to a rolling BOIL FOR DRINKING AND COOKING. (you think the ice co is doing that???)_ This includes water for brushing teeth, washing fruits or vegetables, or MAKING ICE. Time spent bathing should be minimized. Those with recent surgical wounds, or immuno-supressed, or have a chronic illness may want to consider using bottled water for cleaning/bathing until the notice is lifted.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM
    @ Anonymous 1:10 p.m. -- guess again. your water coming out of your tap is not that great to drink. Especially if it's well water. But even if it's city water. Look at Panama City. Every week they have a "boil water alert" - except the alert never makes it to McDonald's, Taco Bell, the other restaurants - and guess what - they use the contaminated ice for you to drink your drink with. And then of course you don't get the alert until after it's over - and you've brushed your teeth with that contaminated water.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 30, 2010 at 10:10 AM
    They are not taxing water. They are taxing the bottle. The water coming out of my tap is fine to drink and this tax will not affect the tap water. Bottled water should have been taxed from the beginning. It is not a necessity.
  • by watcher Location: nearby on Nov 30, 2010 at 10:06 AM
    Putting this tax in place is wrong. Other things should be taxed. The best and only way to protect the springs and the aquifer that feeds them is to STOP Nestle and others from pumping water out from the source. No way will 6% tax collection replace the water once it has all been pumped out to sell for corporate profit or to pump to the southcentral part of the state. Jay, they don`t mind a little tax if they know it is also applied to Democrats.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 30, 2010 at 09:49 AM
    They want to FASTRACK our property insurance to go up 10% every year!! Now they want to tax WATER. When are they going to tax us to BREATHE????
  • by Jay Location: Over round home on Nov 30, 2010 at 07:54 AM
    Republicans adding a new tax aren't we all surpised now? Bahahaha
  • by Anonymous on Nov 30, 2010 at 07:39 AM
    Bottled water sells only because it is convenient. Therefore this amounts to a convenience tax. This should have been done a long time ago.
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