Proposal Would Tax Bottled Water In Florida

August 30, 2011

A proposal to tax bottled water was filed Monday in the Florida Senate, re-igniting a water war that has pitted Sen. Evelyn Lynn against bottlers and business groups.

Lynn’s bill (SB 118) is identical to a bill filed last year by Lynn that failed to get a committee hearing.

Given $700 million in budget cuts to water management districts and other cuts to statewide water quality programs, Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, said providing a source of money to pay for mitigating the environmental damage caused by discarded bottles may find more sympathy.

“This would be an effective way to set aside money for environmental cleanup,” Lynn told the News Service of Florida on Monday.

But opposition is expected to be fierce as Lynn battles bottlers like Nestle North American Waters and business groups who rely upon bottled water sales for a growing part of their businesses. She will also face an uphill fight against leaders in her own chamber, who have taken an ardent anti-tax stance.

“Florida’s bottled water industry generates millions of dollars in revenue for local communities and any efforts to penalize Florida’s bottled water consumers will ultimately drive business to neighboring states where it is not taxed,” said Ryan Duffy, a Nestle spokesman. “The industry supports 8,800 jobs in Florida while utilizing less than one tenth of one percent of all water usage in the state.”

The bill would levy a 6-percent surcharge on the sale of bottled water in containers under a 1 gallon size. The money would be deposited in the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund.

Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles an hour, making the bottled water industry a $7.7 billion market in the United States alone, according to some industry estimates. If recycled, bottles save energy, but uncollected containers have become increasingly targeted by recycling groups and have been banned in some municipalities.

Past efforts to bring a surcharge to Florida have been opposed by bottling companies, convenience stores and the national groups representing vendors, including the National Automatic Merchandising Association and their state affiliate.

“Most vending machine companies are small businesses,” said Bill Baker, a Clearwater vending company owner and president of the Automated Merchandising Association of Florida, “A tax would be bad for those mom and pops. It will also raise the price to customers.”

Environmental groups have also been relatively quiet on the issue. Charles Lee, advocacy director for Audubon of Florida, said Monday the organization has not yet taken a stance on Lynn’s bill, which is yet to gain a committee assignment.

By Micheal Peltier
The News Service of Florida


10 Responses to “Proposal Would Tax Bottled Water In Florida”

  1. David Huie Green on August 31st, 2011 9:18 pm

    “I don’t understand why people have to pay for TV.”

    You don’t HAVE to pay for television.

    You pay for people to set up equipment, including launching satellites and maintaining ground stations to send the signal to you from the satellite. You also pay rental on the equipment to receive the signal and decode it so you can watch it. (In the early days, you paid several thousand dollars for ground equipment rather than some $5 per month nowadays to rent the equipment.)

    If you don’t want to pay for the satellite reception equipment, you can maintain some sort of antenna to receive the broadcast signal and pay nothing for it. You won’t have as many stations, but what you do have will be free. If you have an old fashioned analog television (as I do), you would have to get a digital decoder. They gave those away at first, don’t charge all that much for them now. New TVs don’t need them. I don’t have any idea how well they work around here.

    Maybe they’re being greedy. Me not know. They spent billions of dollars to set it all up and spend billions more maintaining it all. You were free to do the same thing. If you think you could recover your expenses by setting it up and giving it away, I’m sure you could still get in the business.

    Remember there are still at least two different companies competing with each other. If either could provide the service free of charge, they could put the other out of business overnight. They haven’t so I assume they can’t. That doesn’t mean YOU couldn’t if you know more about it than they do.

    David thinking Florida would still tax it

  2. Michelle on August 31st, 2011 7:56 pm

    Hi David, I know this is not part of it, but I don’t understand why people have to pay for TV. They make a heck of a lot from advertising and sponsers. And then charge how much a month? What, at least $30? That is greedy to me.

    Ok back to what you were saying :D

  3. shiner4 on August 31st, 2011 5:30 pm

    Sen. Lynn is a typical politician, one who thinks a tax is the answer to everything. What she doesn’t realize is the slob factor of todays generation. A 25 cent tax per container would not be enough to deter this generation of slobs from leaving trash everywhere they go. I have seen dirty diapers, beer cans, bottles, cigarette butts you name it left on the beach, in the rivers and creeks, parks, lakes etc. I thank those of you who leave nothing behind, but you are an extremely small number these days. Set aside the money?? Hello? Social Security originally was a fund set aside for a specific purpose. “Setting monies aside” only whets politicians appetite to raid, steal and squander such money.

  4. Jane on August 31st, 2011 2:36 pm

    Go ahead and email it to her…if I thought she would actually read it I would, but you’ll just get one of her “people” to send some automated email answer to you. Go Ahead…see what happens! I tried it already. My only hope is that some other people will suggest it and if enough people do maybe she’ll think it over.!!!

  5. gatorbred on August 30th, 2011 4:36 pm

    This would be an effective way to set aside money for environmental cleanup,” Lynn told the News Service of Florida on Monday.
    OMG she found something not taxed.. so lets tax it and set the money ASIDE for what? later it will be used and spent on some thing not even related to water
    this woman has no concern about the people that will pay the burden she wants. this is the type of politician that needs to be voted out….

  6. David Huie Green on August 30th, 2011 11:09 am

    “Give them time they’ll find away to tax the air!! ”

    They already tax the signals which come through the air from satellites 22,300 miles above the equator (DIRECTV). If solar power ever becomes economical, they’ll figure out a way to tax the captured sunlight.

    It’s not a matter of a luxury tax. It’s a matter of politicians liking money to provide services and make voters happy (plus every now and then skim a bit for themselves and friends). Money comes in via taxes, permits, fees. They tried to tax ALL water with a franchise fee, but CWWI refused to turn in it’s old franchise which forbade such taxation. I don’t know what the other water companies did.

    Look at it this way, even if they do it, you can still buy tax-free water if you buy in bottles of more than a gallon.

    David for bloodless turnips

  7. Michelle on August 30th, 2011 8:56 am

    Since when has water been considered a luxury item. Soda’s and alchol I understand, but water?

    Give them time they’ll find away to tax the air!! All under the clause of “enviromental protection”.

    They said it will go towards clean up. Don’t people already have to pay for their own garbage pick-up? To take their trash to the County dump? And pay taxes towards general clean ups to start with?

    Knock it of with this nonsence of nickel and dime taxes, people have no more to give… sorry let me rephrase that. People have no more money for you TO TAKE!

  8. Interested on August 30th, 2011 8:55 am

    Why JANE if we can actually do that we need to put YOU in Congress.
    What a wonderful idea.
    We drink bottled water and were very angry to hear she wanted to
    pass this bill and tax US when we are not doing anything wrong.
    There is always a good answer, but you have to care about other
    people and have the smarts to really want to do the right thing.
    Something that seems to not be around much anymore.
    Why don’t you fax that idea to the Senator.

  9. Kathy on August 30th, 2011 8:51 am

    Have you looked at your phone bill, electric bill, cable or sat. TV bill, enough with the extra little taxes!!

  10. Jane on August 30th, 2011 5:58 am

    It would make more sense to tax the water, then give customers a return to bring the bottle back. The state could recycle the plastic…selling it to ECUA (or a recycling company). That would get the plastic out of our water, landfills and the ocean, and put some money in the coffers!!!

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