My Budget's Got a Hole in It, Let's Plug It With Some Water

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Aug 14, 2007 2:10PM

2007_07_aquafina.jpgA couple weeks back, Mayor Daley introduced next year's city budget, complete with a $217 million hole that's going to require some to "take one for the team" to close.

Bottled water drinkers, be prepared to join that number. Alderman George Cardenas proposed a tax of ten-to-twenty-five cents on bottled water yesterday, noting that the proposed budget includes a $40 million shortfall in water and sewer funds. Apparently, Alderman Cardenas also reads the papers, because he was also citing numbers about the growth of the bottled water industry and the environmental concerns caused by all those empty water bottles as other reasons to assess a tax on bottled water.

The saying goes that desperate times call for desperate measures. While Alderman Cardenas might have the best interests of the city in mind by proposing a tax on bottled water, it's a bit reactionary. It could also be argued that Cardenas is piling on a popular industry, which is something politicians have done since time immemorial, especially Chicago politicians. It's a risible notion that there are that many Chicagoans drinking bottled water, avoiding the "impure" municipal drinking water supply, particularly when so many bottled water companies use publicly sourced water to produce their product, anyway. We know that there are going to be some tough decisions made regarding this budget. We just don't see how much revenue a tax on bottled water will generate.