Right now, every state legislature within SEBWA’s membership jurisdiction is in session. Every legislative body, except Mississippi, has multiple bills proposed that affect the bottled water industry.
As a quick overview, Florida has bills filed regarding a five cent per gallon tax on bottled water, a six percent surcharge on packages less than one gallon, permit requirements, and a proposal to extend the statewide six percent sales tax to cover bottled water.
Georgia has mandatory deposit bills, multiple water management proposals, and bills that would remove bottled water’s sales tax exemptions.
There are 57 industry-related bills filed in Tennessee at this time, including deposit, groundwater, sales tax, and food safety legislation. Many bills have multiple sponsors from both parties, which makes passage more likely.
SEBWA, together with IBWA, often are the bottled water industry’s first line of defense against many onerous and expensive legislative initiatives. The most glaring examples are in Tennessee, where the state is in serious financial trouble, and is looking at any possible revenue source. This industry needs to work together, and needs to get everyone involved before huge added burdens yoke bottlers and distributors. Join SEBWA, if not a member, and encourage others to do so!
On the upbeat side, SEBWA’s Trade Show and Convention should be on every industry calendar. The convention will be in Orlando, starting June 28. The networking is invaluable, along with industry seminars and Continuing Education Credits for IBWA’s Certified Plant Operator’s license. Join us!