News Releases & Statements
ABA and the Illinois Beverage Association: Last Day 'til Tax Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2007
Contact: Becky Fleischauer
The Last Day ‘til Tax Day
It’s December 31st. Just 1 more day before Chicagoans begin being taxed 5 cents per bottle on their bottled water. Did you know...
It’s New Year’s Eve and Chicagoans need to stock up on their bottled water along with their champagne. That’s because today is the last day Chicagoans can buy bottled water tax-free.
And what a shame as Chicagoans and Americans are drinking more water than ever, a healthy habit encouraged by doctors and nutritionists and made possible in large part by the convenience of bottled water. Yet, Chicago’s new tax on bottled water will have the impact of discouraging Chicagoans from doing something that’s good for them.
Taxing water – is this really Chicago?
The 12 Days 'til Tax Day
The 12th Day ‘til Tax Day: Chicago’s tax on bottled water is the first of its kind in the nation. And it’ll be paid by YOU. No other major metropolitan city taxes its citizens for enjoying a healthy, convenient and safe bottle of water. Is Chicago going from the Windy City to the Tax Capital of America -- where anything, anyone and any product is at risk of being taxed? All so our city government can spend more taxpayer money at will.
The 11th Day ‘til Tax Day: Under the city’s new bottled water tax, a Chicago consumer purchasing a case of bottled water for $4 dollars, will end up paying $1.20 in taxes – this amounts to a whopping 30 percent tax on bottled water. A mighty high tax for any product, let alone one that’s good for you like water.
The 10th Day ‘til Tax Day: The city of Chicago is taxing bottled water for the sole purpose of covering its general budget deficit – in other words, to pay for more general government spending.
The 9th Day ‘til Tax Day: The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) recommends that people keep several days worth of bottled water handy in their home as a precaution for possible winter storms. Yet the City of Chicago is going to tax 5 cents per bottle for following the IEMA’s advice on keeping their families safe. (Source: The Associated Press, 11/12/07).
The 8th Day ‘til Tax Day: It’s Christmas Eve, where shoppers look to buy last minute gifts and retailers put a close to their most important time of the year. Unfortunately, Chicago retailers have another concern to deal with this holiday season, as in just 8 days, the City of Chicago will impose a new tax on bottled water that will hurt Chicago retailers. The new tax will lead consumers to purchase bottled water in surrounding communities, giving shoppers one more reason to spend their money in the suburbs. Maybe if the city actually cut taxes, Chicagoans could afford to shop closer to home and actually generate more tax revenues for the city.
The 7th Day ‘til Tax Day: It’s Christmas Day, and this year the role of the Grinch is being played by Chicago’s city government. In just one week, the city government will descend from Who mountain to tax any and all products it can get its hands on, even bottled water. So whatever cash you may have left after your Christmas shopping, the city is ready to take it starting New Year’s Day.
The 6th Day ‘til Tax Day: On the day after Christmas, many Chicagoans are throwing away wrapping paper, boxes and bows. What they shouldn’t be discarding is their plastic water bottles. That’s because plastic water bottles are 100 percent recyclable. Bottled water, like many food and beverages, is packaged in PET plastic, one of the most recycled plastic resins in the world. The easiest and best way to limit the environmental impact of bottled water is not to tax it – it’s to put that fully recyclable product in a recycle bin. Source: The American Beverage Association.
The 5th Day ‘til Tax Day: Chicago’s new bottled water tax will disproportionately hurt low- and fixed-income families, who spend a greater percentage of their income on food and drinks. This includes senior citizens. In fact, the burden of a beverage excise tax is 3 times greater for low- and fixed-income families than for the average household. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Consumer Expenditure Surveys, 2005). Because of the harmful burden this tax will cause retailers, mom-and-pop grocers, consumers and low-income families – the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois Food Retailers Association, the American Beverage Association, and the International Bottled Water Association will file a lawsuit in early January against the city seeking to have the tax invalidated. We’re going to stand up for our customers and our employees and not just accept this tax without a fight. Source: American Beverage Association.
The 4th Day ‘til Tax Day: Roughly 4,500 Chicago-area jobs, which account for $270 million in wages, are owed to bottled water producers. (Source: John Dunham and Associates, 2007). These jobs are held by real, working families – truck drivers, mom-and-pop store owners, grocery clerks, bottling factory workers – all of whom would be at risk at a time when economic and job security concerns are growing in America. Our industry is going to stand up for these workers and their jobs – as well as the contributions they make to the Chicago economy – and file a lawsuit in early January against the city seeking to have the tax invalidated.
The 3rd Day ‘til Tax Day: The City of Chicago can still improve its citywide recycling programs. Let’s encourage more recycling of these 100% recyclable water bottles and other recyclable waste – a far more productive activity than taxing beverages that are good for you like water for the sole purpose of filling the city budget deficit. (See Chicago Sun-Times editorial, 11/12/07)
The 2nd Day ‘til Tax Day: In two days, the state of Illinois is going to ban smoking in bars and restaurants for health reasons, yet the city of Chicago is going to impose a tax on a healthy product in bottled water – sending an incredibly mixed message. Do our city leaders care about healthy lifestyles, or just more money for government spending?
About The 12 Days ‘til Tax Day
On Jan. 1, Chicagoans will begin paying a 5-cent-per-bottle tax on bottled water as part of a slew of new taxes and fees imposed by city government. In the spirit of the holiday season, from today until Jan. 1, we will count down The 12 Days ‘til Tax Day with a new nugget each day about how this absurd tax on a healthy product will harm Chicago consumers, retailers and good-paying jobs for its citizens.
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