Proposed water treatment tax targets toothpaste, anti-depressants and pop

Posted on | July 18, 2009 | No Comments

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YOU’VE got to love a politician who braves July heat in a suit in Washington DC to suggest that companies whose products either rely on clean water or contaminate it be tapped for a new tax to upgrade the country’s crumbling water treatment systems. On Wednesday, July 15, Representative Earl Blumenauer, (D-ORE) introduced the “Water Protection and Reinvestment Act,” H.R.3202, which would establish a $10 billion annual fund for repairing America’s corroded pipes and overburdened sewer systems.

Among the bipartisan co-sponsors were Reps Mike Simpson (R-ID), Norm Dicks (D-WA), Tom Petri (R-WI), and Steve LaTourette (R-OH).

Taxes proposed under H.R. 3202 include:

  • 4 cent per container excise tax on water-based beverages. These products rely on drinking water as their major input and result in both increased flows and increased waste in our waters.
  • 3% excise tax on items disposed of in wastewater, such as toothpaste, cosmetics, toilet paper and cooking oil: These products wind up in the water stream and require clean up by sewage treatment plants.
  • 0.5% excise tax on pharmaceutical products. Pharmaceutical residues found in our nation’s water bodies are an increasing concern for clean and drinking water utilities. A small fee on the industry will support efforts to prevent pharmaceuticals from entering water systems and research into remediation.
  • 0.15% tax corporate profits over $4 million. All corporations use drinking and wastewater infrastructure and depend on it functioning to conduct their business. A similar tax was used to fund the Superfund program until it expired in 1995.

For a summary of the bill from Rep. Blumenauer’s office, click on the Capitol.


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