Proposed Michigan bottled water tax would cost Nestle $20 million per year

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) - "This is ludicrous, and it’s time to say stop it, it’s enough," said state representative Peter Lucido speaking of the new bill he's introduced to tax bottled water operators that do business in Michigan.

Right now, those companies, he says, are getting away with bottling Michigan groundwater, then turning around and selling it to Michiganders for a profit. 

"If you’re taking a tree down on state property, you have to pay for it. But if you’re taking water out of the ground in any property, you should be paying for it," he said. 

The proposed bill says bottling companies would have to pay 5 cents for every gallon of water taken outside of the state.

It doesn’t sound like much. But for companies like Nestle, the biggest operator in Michigan, it means big bucks.

Lucido says it would cost the bottler more than 20 million dollars a year, money -- he says -- could be used for the state’s aging water and sewer systems.  

"How do we pay for the infrastructure that we don’t have any money for. How do we make sure we keep it solid? This is how you do it," the Detroit area state rep said. 

But Nestle, is hitting back, arguing their work supports a lots of Michigan jobs and that it is "inappropriate for the state to impose an excise tax on just one type of water user”...when many others also contribute to the loss of ground-water.

At this point, Lucido does not have any co-sponsors on the bill. 

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