As president of Lodi Water Company, a small water bottler in Eastern Washington, I am concerned about the taxes in the state budget package.
Included is a temporary tax increase on products that contribute to diabetes, obesity and alcoholism but only for the large players; the small players are exempt. OK. But why permanently tax a product — bottled water — that does not contribute to disease, and then tax all companies, large and small? We should not punish those who choose to live healthy lifestyles and make it easy for those who choose not to.
Whether we agree or disagree that bottled water is or is not a discretionary purchase, consumers will continue to drive the demand for healthy alternatives to other soft drink choices. This sales tax on bottled water is in poor judgment and a bad policy that discourages Washington residents from making healthy lifestyle choices.
By exempting the small players in the beer and soda industries and not the bottled water industries is plain discrimination.
At the least, the same policy for the beer and soda industries should be extended to the bottled water industry to protect small Washington businesses.