Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Water bottlers warm to sales tax, oppose governor's plan

Lobbyists for the bottled water industry are offering an olive branch in the impending tax fight over their product: a sales tax.

They're agreeing to let lawmakers remove the exemption on bottled water and impose the state's 6-cents sales tax on every bottle of water sold. The hitch: The sales tax would be paid in lieu of the governor's plan to impose a 6-cents severance tax on every gallon of water used for bottled water.

"We're generally not opposed to the repeal of the sales tax exemption, and we're working to develop a potential compromise to generate revenue and still benefit consumers who use bottled water as their primary drinking source," said Lane Stephens, a lobbyist for Nestle Waters, the nation's largest bottled water company with two plants in Florida.

A 6-cents a bottle tax would be paid by consumers at the point of sale, as it now is when consumers buy soft drinks.

The governor has proposed that the Department of Environmental Regulation impose a 6-cents per gallon tax on water "severed'' from the state by companies that profit from state water. It would include the 5.4 million a day pumped from state aquifers and springs, as well as all the water taken from municipal waters supplies.

The severance tax would raise an estimated $70 million a year; the sales tax would raise $43 million. One reason for the difference: The severance tax would be applied to all water used for bottling in Florida, even bottled water shipped for use out of state, while the sales tax would be paid by consumers in Florida only.

Florida bottlers worry they could be at a competitive disadvantage in other regions if the severance tax is imposed. It's also easier to pass along the cost of the sales tax to consumers than it is to pass along the cost of the severance tax.

Florida specifically excludes bottled water from the sales tax, even though it imposes the sales tax on other beverages, like soft drinks and exercise drinks.

The Senate is considering a bill by Sen. Evelyn Lynn, an Ormond Beach Republican, that would remove the sales tax exemption on bottled water by imposing the sales tax at the point of sale.

The House Finance and Tax Committee has included the bottled water exemption as one of the 51 sales tax exemptions under scrutiny this session.

Water bottlers warm to sales tax, oppose governor's plan 03/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 5, 2009 7:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New DEP secretary says there's no conflict in political side businesses

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — When Noah Valenstein, the newly appointed head of the Department of Environmental Protection, was applying in April to be the state's top environmental regulator, he left one thing off the application: Companies he started and his wife runs have been paid nearly $1 million by politicians and lobbying …

     Noah Valenstein got the job as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday May 23rd, on a unanimous vote by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. He will take the helm on June 5, with a salary of $150,000 per year. [Florida Governor's Office]
  2. Trump says 'we can use peace' during meeting with Pope Francis

    Religion

    VATICAN CITY — President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, two leaders with contrasting styles and differing worldviews, met at the Vatican City on Wednesday, setting aside their previous clashes to broadcast a tone of peace for an audience around the globe.

    Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump on the occasion of their private audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. [Associated Press]
  3. Pinellas construction licensing board looking for ways to fill financial hole

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board's interim leader told the governing board Tuesday that the troubled agency is looking for ways to climb out of its

  4. Adam Putnam calls for special session on medical marijuana

    Blogs

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam wants state lawmakers to come back to Tallahassee in a special session to finish the work on medical marijuana that they started but didn't finish earlier this month.

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is a candidate for governor in 2018.
  5. We Tried That: Working on a food truck for a day

    Cooking

    What we tried: It seems like everyone and their mother wants to open a food truck.

    Carlynn Crosby prepares food at the Empamamas food truck in the Cigar City Brewing parking lot in Tampa this month. For a variety of reasons, food trucking is not for the faint of heart.