Here's a first: an alderman in Chicago has proposed putting a 25 cent-per-bottle tax on bottled water. He wants to discourage people from drinking bottled water, and at the same time help cut a budget shortfall, according to a report from Chicago's CBS affiliate. “People enjoy jogging or driving with a bottle of water. There's a cost associated with this behavior. You have to pay for it,” said Alderman George Cardenas, who the report calls "one of Mayor Richard M. Daley's staunchest City Council supporters."
Cardenas noted that there's a nearly $40 million shortfall in the city's water and sewer funds, in part because of a decline in water usage. “How is this possible when we have a water system that's won honors? It's because bottled water has become a $15 billion industry that's growing at a rate of 20 to 30 percent a year,” he said. Cardenas also said a bottled water tax would help the environment by dissuading people from buying the plastic bottles that end up in landfills.The story goes on to quote a few local residents, who call the proposal "crazy" and "ridiculous," and suggest taxes on cigarettes or soda pop instead. Some U.S. cities have made headlines in recent weeks for cutting off purchases of bottled water, but these have been fairly minor stories -- after all, how much water can one city council guzzle? But taxing bottled water is a new development. Do you think this proposal will fly? I don't think most citizens like the idea of a bottled water tax. But if some city, somewhere, succeeds in taxing something new, I'm sure others will try.